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What Skills Do Employers Want?

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There are two ways as a college student you can spend your time before interviewing for full-time positions your senior year.

Option one is to play the guessing game where you do things during college and hope by blind luck that they work out to get you a quality job after graduation.

That approach works for a few people, but for others it’s a crap shoot that sometimes leaves them unemployed. And my college friends who didn’t secure a job after graduation do regret where they spent their time during their four years.

Option two is to understand what skills employers want from the start, and then use this knowledge to build impressive skills and experiences that align with what companies look for.

With this option, you come with a perspective of the future—without any time machine travel—and work in the present to reach success.

When you prepare this way, interviews become a breeze and you kill the job search. Then the hardest part is deciding between all your job offers—such a rough life.

So what situation sounds better to you? Since you’re smart enough to read this, you know option two is going to unlock a much better future than option one.

Companies Look For These Skills

Alright, now that you’re committed to preparing the right way in college, we need to break down the specific skills companies look for in candidates.

For reasons I’ll explain below, organizations love applicants who possess leadership, communication, problem-solving, and strategic thinking skills.

Leadership
Having leadership experience is the golden nugget for your resume and the interview process. Companies evaluate leadership experience highly because it points toward your ability to manage a team, be respected enough to get voted the leader, and direct moving parts to accomplish a goal.

I’ve found that leadership experience far outweighs GPA in terms of importance for most positions, which is surprising. This goes to show that a soft skill like leadership can lead (pun intended) to better job prospects than hard skills like proficiency in finance or economics.

Next time a leadership opportunity presents itself in your dorm, student org, fraternity, or elsewhere, jump all over it.

Communication
Being able to effectively communicate covers a wide range of skills including social skills, writing clear emails, and telling your manager exactly what they need to know—and don’t need to know.

You can either be a breath of fresh air to work with based on how you communicate, or a nightmare because your communication is often vague and confusing—see the words successful people don’t say.

And communication skills are not some natural talent that you’re born with or stuck without. Just as you can improve your ability to speak Spanish with practice, you can better communicate through practicing body language and your speech.

Problem-Solving
Since humans aren’t perfect, every job and every organization is going to have issues. It’s the teams with the employees who are adept at problem-solving that rise to the occasion and perform.

That’s why employees who can remain calm and keep a positive attitude in the face of a problem are key contributors to any organization.

If you can communicate in your interview a time when you overcame a heavy obstacle and fixed it, companies will badly want you. If you have two or three examples of problem-solving, this is even better for your job hunt.

Strategic Thinking
Last but not least, strategic thinking is a crucial attribute for employees. Strategic thinking involves planning ahead, predicting the future to a certain degree, and getting the most out of your current information.

A short-term thinker may overvalue present situations and thus lose out on opportunities to make gains in 6 or 12 months down the road.

A planner will capitalize on the present while planting seeds to reap the benefits in the future.

Or, for example, a strategic thinker will have the wisdom to seek out mentors in the organization on their own.

Having this skill is worthwhile because it’s hard for employers to teach, but obvious when certain candidates have it and others don’t.

What You Can Do To Impress Employers

We have uncovered that employers are all about finding job applicants who can effectively express their ideas and work well with others to establish a winning team.

Now it’s time for you to get experiences that both force you to work on these skills and give you the resume lines to prove it to employers. Obviously if you can’t promote these skills somehow, the employer isn’t going to know you have them even if you do.

What are some activities that will stretch your leadership, communication, problem-solving, and strategic thinking skills? Here’s a few I thought of and my comments:

1. Join a student org exec team: Being on an executive team for a student org might be the most valuable college experience for your future career. You’ll be left in the ocean to sink or swim depending on your skills in all four of these areas: leadership, communication, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.

If you can’t lead your team well or the student group, you’re toast.

If your communication is misleading or ineffective, then you’ll suddenly lose membership.

If problems aren’t solved in the right manner, broken relationships on the exec team will trickle down to negatively influence the entire student org.

And if you don’t have creative ideas to improve attendance or engage the current membership, they will let you know by refusing to go in the future.

Also, serving on a student org exec team will test your patience. It’s not surprising that this quality works well in a full-time position when you work under the deadlines of coworkers, clients, or managers.

I would know about these struggles as I learned a lot about leadership in my time as president of Amicus Curiae Pre-Law Society.

2. Go Greek (and get a leadership role): Joining a fraternity or sorority is often a heck of a good time for many college students. The bonus is that going Greek also aids your communication and problem-solving skills.

For example, one c-level executive at 3M talked to me and said he used to be incredibly shy before he joined a fraternity. But this Greek environment helped him become more outgoing and talkative, which is the reason why he’s done so well after graduating. He continues to get promoted because he’s now an expert in managing people and handling personalities.

And if you really want to test and improve your leadership skills, then join the leadership team of a fraternity or sorority. These experiences will build up skills that will do wonders for your work in the real world. If you saved your organization from social probation, you can handle when your department is about to go over budget.

If you’re curious, I list many other benefits of Greek life in this post, although I didn’t join a fraternity at Miami.

3. Study abroad: Because being in a foreign country forces you out of your comfort zone, it requires you to improve your communication, problem-solving, and strategic thinking skills on the spot.

How are you going to get to your destination? You’ll need to communicate with your group or the locals—even if you don’t know the language. How are you going to navigate the train schedules to fit in all of your activities? This requires problem-solving and strategic thinking.

As you see, studying abroad helps your future and is also a great time in the present.

4. Play sports: If you’re a student-athlete, employers will immediately value your skills. It’s known that most athletes possess leadership ability and work well in teams. This is exactly what skills employers want to see.

And this is the same reason you see companies through television ads broadcasting about how many student-athletes they hire.

But for you former high school athletes, you can still lace up your shoes to play club or intramural sports and improve your hirable qualities.

For example, I used a story from when I captained an undefeated intramural basketball team as one of my interview answers to a behavioral question about my competitiveness. The employer laughed and loved it.

And usually the interviewer will ask you if you played sports in high school, and that’s a way for you to plug in the glory days without bringing it up yourself. Although high school sports are less impressive than being a college student-athlete, it still shows positive for you.

Talking about this activity is also effective because almost everyone can relate to sports, which makes it easy to find a common ground during the interview process.

5. Start a major project: I’m a huge believer in starting a side hustle that you are interested in (and ideally make money from it, but you don’t have to).

For example, I started TakeYourSuccess.com in college and this has led to big results. That’s why I know for a fact that creating a blog will force you to get better at communicating and problem-solving.

Maybe the best thing you can do is start a business in college, but that’s only for a few of you so I won’t go into too many details.

However, other major projects are beneficial too, like founding a student org, serving a local community, or running a small business’s social media. Any major project will teach you life lessons and give you an impressive resume line.

Final Words

Depending on your campus location and how much free time your schedule allows, the opportunities to get involved in experiences that will improve your skills are endless.

Your time is well spent developing these skills in leadership, communication, problem-solving, and strategic thinking. Remember that spending a few years improving in this areas now will give you the precise tools to excel in any job and career. Or have the skills to transfer jobs if you’re not happy at work.

And no company will get rid of you, regardless of the economy, when you produce consistent value because of your foundation in these skills.

Like this post? Take your job search to another level with my Amazon bestselling book The Golden Resume.

Did you know what skills employers wanted before reading this? How does knowing this influence what you spend your time doing? Feel free to leave any other comments or thoughts below.

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10 Careers For People Who Love Helping Others

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Know you’re someone who loves serving others and is naturally inclined to that kind of work? A career that allows you to live your passion is just what you need.

For a lot of people starting off in the working world or looking for a new career, financial rewards are not the number one thing they are looking for.

Instead, they want a job that provides a sense of personal satisfaction through the feeling of helping others. These jobs are out there.

You have a whole host of jobs that put you in direct contact with those in need, whether this is through healthcare, education, charity or another option.

And then there are the jobs that provide a broader contribution to society including science and engineering.

So, let’s go through a list of 10 potential options if you are looking for a job that prioritizes helping others.

1) Teaching and Education

Education is a broad field that gives you the opportunity to impart your skills and knowledge onto others, whether these are children or adults.

Beyond the traditional primary and secondary school paths, there are also opportunities to teach at further education colleges or else children with special needs.

To qualify as a teacher, you will need a degree and a further year of hands-on training, but there are also opportunities such as youth work, childcare or becoming a teaching assistant.

Essentially, the knowledge that you are having a direct impact on people’s lives and you are helping them to develop themselves is immensely rewarding.

2) Nursing and Healthcare

As well as being able to serve others, nursing is a field that is always looking for new staff members so there will be no shortage of job opportunities. Just take a look at https://www.staffnurse.com/ to find out more.

Beyond the range of hospital jobs that you can choose from, you could also find yourself working in a GP surgery, adult care centres or people’s homes, to name a few.

The launch of the nursing degree apprenticeship has been designed to make the career easier for people to enter, but obtaining a degree is still required to progress in this field.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other careers in healthcare apart from being a nurse including physiotherapy, midwifery or pharmacy.

3) Medicine

Although it takes a great deal of hard work and commitment to enter this career path in the first place, there is no doubt that working in medicine is one of the most rewarding options out there.

After all, you are helping people with their most important commodity; life.

As well as becoming involved in the day-to-day treatment of patients, there is also the option to go into the research side of the field and help develop groundbreaking medicine.

And there are also a wide range of medical specialties to choose from so you can decide on one that perfectly suits your interests.

On the down side, this tends to be a very demanding option that requires a lot of dedication to the role which can often impact work-life balance.

4) Social Work

Social work is a career that brings you into direct contact with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Some of the most common include elderly people, adults with mental health issues and people with learning difficulties.

You will probably be required to get involved in some very tough situations including child protection, adoption or working with offenders. To become a full social worker, you will need to obtain a degree, but there are other non-degree options that give you the opportunity to work in this field in other capacities.

Be in the know that many of these jobs come along with high levels of anxiety and the need to work in some very challenging situations.

5) Emergency Services

Comprising of the police, ambulance and fire and rescue, the emergency services are three different career paths.

They all have in common the responsibility to directly respond to people in their most urgent time of need. And these tend to be very community-oriented jobs, as well as ones in which the tasks vary greatly.

There are a wide range of different options and entry levels for each of the three sectors we have mentioned.

The downside is that the working hours tend to be unstable and you are also likely to find yourself working on call.

But there is also a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a genuine difference to society.

6) Charity Work

There are all kind of career paths that are directly linked to the charity sector from fundraising to marketing.

You may find yourself directly interacting with people or you may be in a more office-based role, but either way, you will have the knowledge that you are closely involved in helping others.

Jobs are open for both graduates and non-graduates, and there are also plenty of voluntary opportunities as well.

If you know that you are directly involved in a field that you are passionate about, this is a fantastic and motivating feeling that can give you immense job satisfaction. Keep in mind you may have to work your way up from the bottom to get there or come into the sector from a different career path entirely.

7) Law

You may not naturally associate a career in law with one which is helping people, but there are some options which give you the opportunity to give a voice to people without one.

For example, you could go down a career in criminal defence in which you support people who have been accused of crimes.

You could also become involved in the child protection side of law in which you help children in very vulnerable situations. Solicitors and barristers are the jobs that grab most of the headlines, but there are also plenty of entry-level positions that all you to work your way up.

Ultimately, you need to be selective about the type of job you are going for so that you have the feeling that you are helping people and making a genuine difference to their lives.

8) Science and Engineering

Though a lot of science and engineering careers are less about helping people on a daily basis, they are often involved in making the big societal changes that make all the difference in the long run.

For example, in a science career role, you could be involved in protecting the environment or developing new health treatments for people.

Plenty of engineering paths also lead to positive changes for people such as developing renewable energy sources.

Again, it is all about being selective with your career choice so you go for one that provides you with the maximum amount of job satisfaction and the feeling that you are really helping people.

9) Public Service

Though people who work in politics often have a bad reputation, many people do enter this particular career path because they want to help others.

The work that you are doing could impact the entirety of the country, even though whether you are in contact with them directly or not depends on what job role you go into.

So, if you are particularly passionate about the community you live in, a career in local government could be the ideal solution.

Alternatively, you could work in central government and choose between all the different major areas such as pensions, healthcare, education and justice. Job roles are varied so you could be coming in from a wide range of backgrounds.

But if you progress high up the career ladder, stress levels can rise accordingly as you are having to make the decisions that really impact people’s lives.

10) Psychology

Psychology still remains a rapidly developing field. And the increasing focus on mental health in society means that there are more options than ever before becoming available.

Some of the most common branches of psychology that people enter include health, clinical, counselling, educational and forensic.

Like other job roles we have talked about already, you have the reward of knowing that you are directly helping people who are struggling with a range of complex issues.

Final Words

The 10 career paths we have talked about are just some of the potential options you have if you are looking to get into a career that involves helping others.

While some require a great deal of training and study, others can be entered at any stage.

Essentially, you should think about where your passions lie before matching yourself up to one of these options.

It may be that you want to come into contact with people directly and feel like you are helping people in this way. It may be that you like the idea of contributing to wider societal changes that help people in the long-run.

Whatever the case, many people find that personal rewards and job satisfaction from one of these types of career outweigh the financial incentives of other paths.

Though if you work your way up, you still have an excellent opportunity to strike the perfect balance of finding a job that is rewarding in both senses of the word.

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High Risk Career Choices That Could Pay Off Big

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Are you the type of person who enjoys adrenaline and high-risk, high-reward opportunities? You’ll probably fit perfectly in one of these risky career fields below.

Career choices are never easy. Whether you’re a high schooler, a college kid, a young professional, or a middle aged adult, it’s difficult but crucial you find the right job.

A large portion of your happiness and future depend on it.

While there’s advice all over about how to find the right career based on your personality, sometimes this can lead to overthinking and feeling paralyzed on what to do next.

It’s best to know yourself and trust your gut when it comes to making the right career choice.

Since every choice you make in life will come with its own risk that it may not pay off, sometimes the ones with the most risk are the ones worth risking everything for to be happy.

For the risk-takers out there who need to have a sense of fulfillment in their work, the following high risk jobs could be right up your alley.

Starting Your Own Business

If there’s one career move that a lot of us will want to make, but can often be afraid of, it’s starting a business from scratch.

Starting your own business will always be a risk. Even when you have the capital, a solid business plan, and a lot of experience in your field; you can never guarantee that it’s going to work out.

But if you’re willing to work hard and work at it, it’s a risk that can often pay off.

Becoming A Freelancer

Similarly, choosing to leave job security and go freelance can also be risky business (albeit less than starting your own business), but it’s often worth it.

The risk of going freelance is real and it will also depend on how well you are at adjusting to freelance life. Work won’t always be handed to you; you have to chase it. The investment you need to give here is both your heart and time.

By putting everything you’ve got into going freelance, you should see success.

Working In Another Country

When you do own your own business, or if you have a side project that you’re working on, there may be a time that you decide to go international. And there are always risks associated with this move.

When you’re moving into a market that you don’t know and that you have no experience in, there is a greater chance that you fail.

If you can do your research and plan your entry carefully, the potential successes will always be worth the risk.

Real Estate Investing

There’s always the option to turn to real estate investing.

If you’ve wanted to start a career for yourself that you can operate alongside your work, for the time being, property investment is a strong option.

Whether you look into buy to let options, BTO, or decide to start flipping properties, you have the potential to earn more money than you know what to do with on your own.

Many beginner investors need to first just build up capital, and then be willing to patiently wait until the property and price is right.

Becoming A Professor

When you’re starting out on your career path and still in college, or considering going back to study for your graduate degree, you may consider becoming a professor.

This is a risk for two reasons.

Firstly, the cost of getting your doctorate can’t be ignored. Debt and risk go hand in hand together.

And secondly, the idea that you’re missing out on being in the working world and getting paid a high salary for your skills.

Now if you make it through academia to become a professor and earn tenure, then your job security will be at an all-time high and career risk at an all-time low.

Becoming A Doctor

For those considering becoming a doctor, you may wonder if it is entirely worth it.

Medical education is long, challenging, and expensive.

So you have to be able to analyze the cost vs. the reward relationship when it comes to training to become a doctor.

If you’re skilled, passionate, and willing to work hard, you should be able to both out-work and out-earn your student debt before you know it.

Training As A Pilot

As far as adventurous careers go, if you want to enjoy job security and a good salary at the same time, you’re often limited with choice.

However, a strong option would be to train as a pilot.

Of course there are risks with any kind of job like this, but you should find that although the training is costly, the salary you receive in return will repay your investment, and your security will shatter any risk.

You’ll also gain the flexibility to fly commercial or private, which can’t be said in many careers.

Joining The Army

An army job does not need as much of an investment upfront in terms of experience or money, but it does require a few years of your life.

Although some positions will require a college education like an army officer, it’s not required across entry-level positions. Out of all the options on this list, this one may be the easiest to begin.

Keep in mind a career within the army may prove a risk to your life at times, but the security, skills training and experience may make it the best investment you could make.

Working For The Government

You may also want to consider joining the government.

Working for the federal government, although not a risk in itself (depending on your role) can be worth the investment in your education that you may need to make.

You will often benefit from great working rewards and enjoy a varied working day, especially if you decide to go into an intelligence field.

Mentoring Others

At some point in your career, you may also want to think about going into mentorship.

Mentoring is often a great way to give back to the industry and encourage bright talent for the future, although it can mean you have to give up your time with very little financial gain in return.

Often times mentors find that the personal rewards make any risk you take entirely worth it.

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5 Best Future Careers, And 5 That Will Disappear

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If you’re going to look for a new career, why not consider the best future careers to make sure that job is going to be as profitable in 20 years as it is now?

There’s a whole bunch of careers that are set to disappear as organizations become more dependent on computers and automation to do the heavy legwork for them.

Some experts think that somewhere in the region of 47% of jobs might be lost over the coming decades. That’s absurd if you think about this for a minute!

If you’re looking for a career that will stay relevant, you’d have your head on straight if you considered picking a field from the five we’ve listed below—and avoiding the five industries listed below them.

Good Future Careers

1. Cyber Security

The world’s going to be even more reliant on internet systems than it is now. With the arrival of the “internet of things”, it’s going to be all around us, a part of everything we do.

This, naturally, will make the criminals of the world pay attention – and as such, as our reliance on these systems grows, so will the importance of staying one step ahead of the people looking to hack and causing mischief.

If you know how to keep these attacks at bay, you’ll be high in demand in the corporate or government sector.

2. Tech Development

Well now, the whole world isn’t going to become dependent on technology just by chance: there’s going to be people behind those systems, working hard to find the next great breakthrough and push the world forward.

It’s important to note that not all IT based jobs will be safe; the market for app development jobs, for example, is likely to wind down.

However, if you can train yourself in advanced technology systems and make sure you’re always at the cutting edge of what’s happening, you’ll find plenty of work.

3. Data Analyst

Data is already used to influence companies much more than you probably realize, but it’s set to become even bigger in the next decade and beyond.

There’s already more data than any company could need, but there’s a problem: there aren’t enough people who know how to interpret the data.

If you’ve got an eye for spotting trends and can make sense of large quantities of information, then look at becoming a data analyst. Computers won’t be able to make sense of it on their own (in the beginning at least): it’ll need the human touch.

4. Healthcare

And talking of a human touch; healthcare is another industry that will be kept safe from computers.

Of course, automation and AI will form a significant part of healthcare, but it’ll work in conjunction with health professionals, not replace them.

Don’t worry if you don’t like the thought of dealing with blood and other healthcare hazards; there are plenty of specialized jobs available that are just as safe.

If we take a look at the job prospects for a radiologist via wikiprofessional.org, we can see that it’s a future proof career option; demand for this job, along with other physicians, is due to grow by 24% over the next few years.

Some jobs just can’t be performed by a machine, and healthcare is right at the top of the list.

5. Social Care

There’ll also be plenty of jobs in an industry that can be considered the cousin of healthcare, social care.

Again, there will be elements of technology incorporated into the industry, but it’ll be working alongside the core workers, rather than replacing them, as the very essence of this type of work depends on human interaction.

And this market won’t just be safe because computers can’t take over: it’s a growing industry in its own right.

In the not too distant future, people aged 70 and over are going to form the biggest age group in the country, and there’ll need more people than there currently are to take care of them.

Bad Future Careers

1. Number Crunching

If you’ve got a knack for mathematics and producing reports and paperwork, then look away now, because this is one surprising career that is likely to shrink in importance in the forthcoming years.

While it currently requires a high degree of expertise, a slew of applications that will more or less automate the entire process are already here, and there will be more on the way, too.

Though traditional companies still rely on human hands to take care of these jobs, modern companies are using machines to take care of their account, bookkeeping, tax returns, and so on, and it’ll be these companies who dominate the future.

2. Global Knowledge

The rapid globalization of the economy has meant it’s been a golden age for workers who were able to navigate different cultures and languages.

While we’re still a ways off from not needing tour guides with specialized, in-depth knowledge, the abundance of apps and other smartphone related tools will shrink this industry over time.

At a more immediate risk are translators, who will have to compete with software that automatically translates languages. The tech isn’t quite there yet, but it is coming, and from then it’ll only be the highly sensitive translations that are done by humans.

3. Non-Artistic Writing

Now, there’s little chance a computer will take the place of a novelist anytime soon. That’s just not going to happen because art is inherently human.

However, writing that isn’t obviously artistic, such as web content, technical reports, and (gasp) newspaper articles will increasingly be written by machines.

Some news outlets already use bots to write their weather reports, and it has been reported (by humans) that robots are more and more responsible for what we’re reading online and in our newspapers.

4. Logistics

The entire logistics industry is about to be turned upside down, as nearly all components can be performed by a robot. Machines will be responsible for the running of warehouses, packaging, and delivery, with little to no human hands helping them along the way.

For a glimpse into the future, look no further than Amazon’s delivery plans. Welcome to the future!

5. Broadcaster

According to studies, broadcasters score some of the lowest when it comes to job growth, stress, and work environment.

This makes sense since competition has to be high for these limited roles and job security is not going to be strong when a media company can quickly fill a broadcasting role with another talking head.

It’s also difficult to find that first broadcasting job as radio stations become syndicated and the Internet gobbles up more music and sports positions.

These are just a few of industries where humans will have more or less importance in the future. So if you’re looking for a change of career, make sure it’s one for the future!

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