One of the questions I often get from job seekers is, “What are employers looking for?”
Maya Pope-Chappell at LinkedIn interviewed human resources leaders at 25 of the 50 LinkedIn Top Companies in the U.S. on the top skills that they look for when hiring. These skills range from web programming to social media marketing to data mining.
While this information is good to know and having these skills on your resume is important; to bigger point within this article is that getting hired and being successful take more than having these skills.
- Create the Future
When I look at the skills that are in demand in the chart above, I think of all of the job seekers I have met that know Web programming, C/C++, and Java Development. However, what companies want goes beyond the ability to code and program or have some other type of technical skill. They want their employees to have the ability to think outside the box.
Apple’s iOS was not created by engineers who went to school to study iOS. They were engineers who used their skills to create and innovate.
I’m not saying that you have to create the next Facebook in order to excel in your career, but having the ability to apply think creatively while utilizing your skills to enhance your field is the type of person that all companies want on their team.
Verizon’s chief talent and diversity officer, Magda Yrizarry, says,
“You hire people who have in the past been able to bend the curve on technology. They may not have bent the curve on 5G (Technology that Verizon is pushing into) for example, but they were there to create earlier iterations of technologies like IoT or cybersecurity. So you have a confidence that they are not beholden to the past, that they can create the future.”
My advice to job seekers who are looking to create that future: you learn and grow by doing.
If you are still in school, you need to find a way to get experience. Work with your faculty on academic projects that will challenge you and allow you to take risks and grow. Gain valuable experience through internships and volunteer work and apply what you have learned.
- Know the industry
Keeping up with industry trends and news is one of the challenges that universities have in educating students. Ardine Williams of Amazon Web Services states, “It’s very difficult for a professor to build a curriculum or course that addresses the needs of tech in real time.”
In order to excel in your field, you should be aware of the needs and demands. Then you will be able to think, research, and find out where your skillset fits within a company and the types of industry problems you can solve.
- The right combination
Having the right combination of hard and soft skills is something all employers covet. Are you able to use data in order to research and implement a business strategy? Can you be part of a team but also lead and manage one with a vision and plan in place?
Comcast Cable EVP of HR Bill Strahan says, “What’s most in demand and the hardest to get is the combination. It’s getting, for example, someone who is highly technical, but then has that and the leadership skills or to have that and the business strategy skills.”
Not everything comes from a book and a lot is discovered through trial and error, but your professional growth is dependent upon refining both your hard and soft skills
For job seekers, it is essential to find the right opportunity to progress through work and experience. Through that experience, you will be able to use your hard skills and soft skills to tackle any problem or dilemma.