Despite an uncertain job market, many job seekers would like to believe they are qualified. However, it simply is not so. Candidates are failing at the job search because they lack qualifications that employers value.
A national online survey conducted by the Career Advisory Board established by DeVry University brings to light how job seekers can better position themselves by focusing on the attributes employers’ value most. The findings of the Job Preparedness Indicator conducted Sept. 6-12, 2011, by Harris Interactive revealed that employers are unable to find qualified candidates for open positions.
Fourteen percent of the 540 hiring managers surveyed said that within the past three years “nearly all” or “most” job seekers have had the skills their company looks for in a potential employee.
However, most job seekers believe they have what it takes to succeed. More than half (56 percent) of the 734 adults looking for work who were surveyed are confident they know what qualifications are required for employment. In addition, 72 percent are confident they know how to present their skills during an interview.
“These findings highlight the striking gap between what skills hiring managers value in a candidate and how job seekers describe themselves. But some of the disconnect between hiring managers and job seekers is due to misconceptions about what is most important to the other party,” noted Dan Kasun, senior director of developer and platform evangelism at Microsoft Corp. and Career Advisory Board member. “Job seekers should utilize these findings to better calibrate the way they present themselves to employers.”
According to the study, hiring managers place the highest value on the following skills across all job levels (entry, middle and managerial):
n Strategic perspective
n High integrity
n Global outlook
n Strong base work ethic/dependable
For those looking to enhance their marketability to employers, Career Advisory Board members offer the following actionable advice:
n Stay current to remain relevant. Job seekers must commit to being “continuous learners” to stay current in the career game and enhance their global outlook. Subscribing to industry publications and becoming active in professional organizations help candidates stay abreast of issues and trends and gain perspective on local, national and global levels.
n Gain real-world experience. Job seekers should pursue internship and volunteer opportunities. These experiences allow job seekers to develop relevant skills that can be transferred to the workplace. Internships and volunteering also offer valuable opportunities to develop critical and analytical thinking skills.
n Seek a mentor and be a mentor. Building a strong relationship with a mentor can help job seekers gain critical workplace knowledge that will support career growth in their field. Through mentoring relationships, job seekers have a window into a realistic career path and what it takes to succeed in their career of choice.
To learn more about the Career Advisory Board or the Job Preparedness Indicator, visit careeradvisoryboard.com.