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Are You a Great Employee? 5 Attributes of the Best Hires

Are You a Great Employee? 5 Attributes of the Best Hires

You know the competition out in the marketplace for a job is fierce. At 7.7 percent, unemployment is still riding fairly high and this means a flood of applications for every available job. As an example of just how competitive the marketplace is, let’s take a look at airline carrier US Airways: back in January, the airliner wanted to hire 450 new flight attendants, but they weren’t even remotely prepared for the flood of applications they received. The company ended up inundated with 16,500 applications for the open positions.

In a field so crowded, how do you stand out from the pack? How do you set yourself apart and show employers you really are the best person for the job? Before hitting the submit button on your application, take a look at the five attributes of the best hires and make sure you’re positioning yourself as a top-notch candidate:

Creative

With the field so intense, creativity might just be the answer to standing out from the crowd and getting hiring managers to notice you. All companies need creative hires—these are the people who dream up big ideas and come up with new solutions to old problems. Fostering creativity is the reason tech giants like Google offer their 20 percent time program so employees can work on new concepts.

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It’s also the reason candidates with flashy, creative, and outside-the-box resumes get scooped up more quickly than traditional candidates. Just look at the candidate who started a campaign to get hired by Google, or the job seeker who turned himself into an Amazon product page. To get recognized in this competitive market, you’ll need to show off your creativity right from the application process. Whether it’s a video resume, an online campaign, or even a billboard, don’t be afraid to dream big.

Good Communicators

Every company, whether it builds apps or bakes apple pies, needs to be staffed with good communicators. Communication skills are necessary in all aspects of business life, whether you’re speaking to a client or writing an email to a colleague. Showing off your communication skills in the application process is a smart way to brand yourself as a great candidate.

One smart way to show off your communication skills is to record a video resume: on video, you can talk about your qualifications and experience, while also showing off your ability to communicate and your confidence. Anyone can list “superior communication skills” on a resume, but video resumes force you to back up your claims.

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Team Players

No matter how smart, capable, or creative a candidate is, it’s all moot if they don’t fit into the company culture. Employers are looking for candidates who will be excited to come into the office every morning. No-one wants to hire a superstar who will soon start searching for an exit strategy.

Employee turnover can be extremely costly, so it’s important to position yourself as a candidate who will fit into the company culture with ease. Do some research into the company, review their website, and scan their social media. Find out what the organizational environment and values are like, and be sure to explain in the application process why you’re the perfect fit for the company. You know you’d be a great fit for the team, so help employers understand why you’re the right person for the job.

Highly Skilled

The skills gap is a big problem for companies looking to hire workers with specialized skills: a recent survey by Towers Watson showed 70 percent of employers are having a hard time finding the critical skill employees they need. Whether the job you’re looking for is in media or in tech, it’s important to highlight and underline your critical skills.

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Use your social profiles, online channels, and even video in order to show off what you can do. Show concrete examples by putting together an online work portfolio or starting an industry-specific blog. Show employers you possess the critical skills they need in their open positions and you’ll be likely to rise to the front of the pack.

Passionate

The final, and perhaps most important ingredient, is passion. Employers know that the best hires are truly passionate about their industry, their jobs, and their company. It’s not merely fitting into the corporate culture—it’s being excited to get up in the morning and go into work. It’s being thrilled by the challenges presented and looking forward to finding the best solutions.

It’s important that you show off your genuine career passion in the application process, as this attribute is more vital than all the others. There are plenty of people with the same skills, the same qualifications, and the same experience as you, but there’s no-one with the same amount of passion. Use the application process to show employers how passionate you are, whether it’s in a video resume, through a blog post, or on social media. Employers want passionate employees, so don’t be afraid to show how much you care.

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It’s not easy to stand out from a packed field of contenders, which is why you need to consider the attributes employers are looking for, and show off these top qualities as early in the hiring process as possible. This way you’ll nab your dream job and become the company’s dream employee.

What are some ways you show off these top attributes? What do you think employers are looking for? Share in the comments!

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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