Upon graduation from Colorado Christian University, you will most likely enter the job market and begin applying for numerous positions in hopes of obtaining employment in your field as soon as possible. If you are an older student, you may have concerns about your marketability and questions about how to compete with a younger population of job applicants. The CCU blog is a great place to read current job market trends, advice for graduates, and suggestions on how to market yourself upon degree completion. We provide up-to-date information about what fields are sought after, what salaries and benefits are to be expected, and what employers are looking for in employees.
Skills and Personal Qualities
When employers evaluate resumes, conduct interviews and review applications, they have certain criteria that must be met. Managers, supervisors and business owners will have ideas about what they’re looking for in an employee and will fill the position with the candidate that has most of skills and personal qualities they are looking for in an applicant. Let’s take a look at some of the skills and personal qualities employers are looking for in employees:
Basic and Critical Thinking Skills will vary for each position but include abilities such as reading, writing, and oral communication; listening; reasoning; creative thinking; logical thinking, decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, organizational skills and planning skills.
Personal Qualities employers look for will also vary based on personal preferences and the job for which you’re applying, but most people in a supervisory position want their employees to be responsible, reliable, kind, dependable, friendly, cooperative, creative, compassionate, punctual, ambitious, honest, and respectful.
Employers look for people who communicate well both orally and in writing; you need above average communication skills to sell yourself during the interview. Being able to convey your thoughts both verbally and in writing helps you to be understood by your colleagues and supervisors, and good communication means better relationships in the workplace. Listening skills involve not only hearing but understanding; listening means gaining information and understanding information. During your interview, your prospective employer will take notes (mental and physical) about you, your mannerisms, your confidence, your ability to speak and listen, and your skill set.
Also, be aware of any personal habits or “quirks” you have and keep them under control during interviews. For instance, if you are nervous and tend to shake your legs while seated, be conscience of this, and make sure you don’t shake your legs during the interview. Don’t tap a pen or squirm in your chair a lot. These common nervous habits may be interpreted by the interviewer as a lack of confidence or even fear. Be as relaxed as possible and be yourself. Be professional but don’t be fake, and if you are interested in the position, you must convey that. Ask questions about the position if encouraged to do so, and if you don’t understand something, be sure to ask for clarification. There’s nothing wrong with asking an interviewer to repeat a question or to re-word a question you don’t really understand. This will show that you care and are concerned enough to make sure you fully understand what is being asked of you.
In this age of ever-evolving technology, any discussion of employability skills without mention of technology would be incomplete. There is no escaping the rapid rate of technological advancements, so to keep up with your competition in the job market, you must make sure you technology skills are comparable or better than the “norm.” Even if you’re not a huge fan of social media and other recent Internet phenomena, having at least a working knowledge of these tools is a must. More and more employers are requiring that employees become familiar with a wide variety of computer applications and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Pininterest.
Even if you know that you will not be using the computer on your job (and there aren’t many jobs out there that require a college degree but don’t use a computer), it is imperative that you be familiar with the Internet, Microsoft Word, Excel, and the various forms of social media. Take the time to understand what certain applications can do, and you just may find yourself much more interested (rather than intimidated) by the technological superhighway.
CCU offers Christian career services through the Life Directions Center, directed by Joy Strickland. Here is a sampling of what the LDC offers CCU students:
- Career Counseling and Assessments
- Occupations and Outlooks
- Career Fairs
- Internship Information
- Information about Graduate Schools
- Writing Resumes and Cover Letters
- Practice Interviewing
- Access to Employment Resources
- Networking Opportunities
If you want to learn more about the job outlook in particular fields, what salaries are and more about employment in various careers, please read these CCU blogs: