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What Do I Have to Do to Get Hired?

tmwthumbnailThe 50+ jobseeker is concerned about the current hiring environment. No matter what field or industry they work in, they wonder out loud, “Is anyone hiring an employee over 50? What do I have to do to get hired?”

Millennials are having trouble starting their careers. They think, “Everyone requires experience. How am I supposed to gain experience if I have to have experience to get the job? What do I have to do to get hired?”

The best answer: “Be you; everyone else is taken.”

No makeover needed

One of the most common misconceptions is that a job candidate must do a “makeover” to fit in with a company culture or set of skills. OK, you may have to wear a dress shirt or blouse when a sweatshirt is more comfortable, but most of us can make that concession. The makeover I’m talking about is on the inside, and my advice is: Don’t do it.

A recent survey titled “Tomorrow’s Most Wanted” says 78% of employers surveyed globally counted personality as the most desirable quality in an employee. Cultural alignment was next with 53%, and skills a distant third with 39%. The skills considered most important included drive (14%), creativity (12%), and an open mind (11%).

A 2014 survey by CareerBuilder revealed these 10 personality traits topping the list for employers:

  1. Hard working
  2. Dependable
  3. Positive
  4. Self-motivated
  5. Team-oriented
  6. Organized, and able to manage multiple priorities
  7. Good under pressure
  8. Effective communication
  9. Flexible
  10. Confident

Work from your strengths

So, now you’re feeling demoralized because you have a corner on only six out of those 10.

Congratulations! You’re human!

Most of us are not going to score 100% in the personality test. But that doesn’t mean we won’t ever land our dream job or that we need a personality transplant to be happy at work. It just means it will take some self awareness and work to do what we want to do.

I, for example, have never been particularly good at working under pressure. I will complete a project two days ahead of time rather than deal with last-minute stress. I beat every single deadline that’s ever been set because I hate to feel rushed.

I may not be wonderful at the last second, but I am a genius at organizing work and time to avoid that circumstance. Do I spend time and money improving my last-minute saves? Nope. I schedule better; I estimate better; I leave myself time for unanticipated problems. I plan. I work from my strength.

You can, too. Here’s how:

  1. Decide which of that list of 10 treasured personality traits you’re already good at.
  2. Think of at least one example of each trait you can incorporate into your resume and job interview.
  3. Notice when you use each of those traits, and say to yourself, “That’s one of my strengths.”
  4. Every day, pick one strength and spend 5 minutes picturing how you used it and how you might use it more.

Infographic used with permission by HyperIsland.