When you’re writing a cover letter, sending out your resume or doing other things during your job search, you may find yourself wishing that you could read a potential employer’s mind. Although the chances of developing psychic abilities during your job search are slim, the good news is it’s possible to better understand what employers look for from candidates.
Based on insights from operations managers and other people in positions to make hiring decisions, here are six of the most important things that employers look for:
1. Genuine Interest/Passion
As writers like Cal Newport have explored in detail, passion is a loaded term with a lot of misconceptions surrounding it. So while plenty of employers say they want someone who is passionate about the job, what they really mean is someone who has a genuine interest in it. You can demonstrate this genuine interest in a cover letter and during an interview by showing that you understand what it takes to do the work well.
2. Familiarity with a Company’s Mission
Culture is another term that can sound like a simple buzzword. However, building a real culture within an organization takes a lot of work, which is why employers want to hire people who are going to be a good fit. Taking time to understand what a company is all about will make you a more attractive candidate. It also provides an opportunity to decide if you’ll be truly happy working there.
3. Understanding of Personal Value
Employers hire for jobs that contribute to profitability in some way. This can be by making money, saving money, saving time or increasing productivity for the company. From your resume to your interview, showing an understand of the value you can contribute to the business will go a long way with an employer.
4. Fast Learner
There are definitely micromanagers in every industry. But this isn’t something most employers consciously want to do. Instead, they want employees who can learn quickly and then put what they learn into action without needing lots of supervision.
5. Team Player
Employers understand that teams can accomplish things that an individual simply can’t. So while there’s no question that employers want to hire A-players, what they don’t want are big egos or other problems that will get in the way of teams being as effective as possible.
6. Willing to Ask Questions
This is a big one. A lot of people are either too proud to ask questions or worried that doing so will make them “look dumb.” In reality, the downsides to not asking questions are usually much greater. For example, if someone is unclear about the requirements for a project but decides to move forward anyway, the time they end up wasting doing things wrong could have been avoided by asking for clarification.