What do Employers Really Want in a Candidate?

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Are you looking to gain a promotion or change career completely? If so, it’s essential to make yourself as attractive as possible to potential employers; with so much competition for job roles, you need to stand out from the crowd. Here are just a few ways you can go about it. 

Transferable skills

Having the right skills and education that are relevant to the job is crucial and something that will likely be the deciding factor in you getting a job. For example some jobs might require a masters or a doctorate degree. If the job is in an office, then knowledge of running an office, using compatible software, and using the skills that office workers need daily is crucial. But there are other skills that employers will look for which can be transferable. Writing, for example, is a great skill to have and will come in handy in just about all workplaces. Being a skilled writer will help you in just about any job role. Whether it’s creating content or just communicating with other employees, it’s a necessary skill and being able in this area can make life much easier for you at work. IT is another; pretty much everything we do these days is online, and even businesses that don’t sell online still need to have a presence on the internet. For this reason there’s no escaping it, and in almost any job you do, having some knowledge and understanding of IT is going to be advantageous. Marketing is another great skill to have. It’s something that every single company needs and relies on for their success. A marketing qualification could go hand in hand with content creation or graphic design for example, it gives you the edge if you have a background understanding of what angle will be best received by an audience. 

A driver’s license with access to a vehicle

Even if the job you’re applying for has nothing to do with driving, having a license with access to a car is always going to be a good thing for employers. This is especially true if you live a little further out, or if you’re required to work very early or late- even on some days. There are occasions when public transport won’t be running or will be delayed, and being able to drive generally means you tend to me more reliable as an employee when it comes to getting to work. If the job you’re applying for requires you to drive with your own car (for example, courier work or community care work) then without this you’ll be completely ruled out. 

Relevant or interesting hobbies 

It might seem a little unusual as to why employers are interested in your hobbies. After all, most of us are very different in our regular lives outside work- so why do they need to know? But actually, hobbies can give a massive insight as to who you are as a person, the kinds of skills you’re likely to have and even how well you work with others. If the job is very team focused for example, then having a team sport on your resume is going to help you stand out. But be wary, as sometimes hobbies could put employers off. For example, if the job you want requires you to be very level headed and make rational decisions, having a high impact sport on your resume might suggest you’re a bit of a risk taker. While you won’t want to lie, it’s essential to tailor your resume to what employers are looking for. Decode the job ad, try and work out the kinds of skills and personality they want for the role and then present yourself as this person.

Good communication and body language

The things we say only communicate a small message– the rest comes across in our non verbal cues such as body language, expression and more. When interviewing, most employers will be looking for candidates who are confident, open and comfortable and so be sure to stand (and sit) up straight. Control your nerves and go in with a relaxed peace of mind, and your expression and body language should convey this. 

Voluntary work or other experience

If you’re hoping to work in a brand new sector and have no experience at all, finding a job can be very difficult. The way you can get around this is by doing some voluntary work. If, for example, you want to work in the criminal justice sector, you could look for voluntary positions with the police, courts or probation. If you wanted to work in healthcare, you could volunteer at a hospital or clinic. Voluntary work shows that you’re serious about getting the skills you need to move up in your career, something employers will appreciate.

Improve Your Customers’ First Impressions

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Good first impressions help to establish trust and convert customers. In fact, according to one study, it only take seven seconds to build a first impression. Here are just some of the ways in which you can make a positive initial impact on your customers.

Use the right body language

When meeting a customer in person, body language is important. In fact, it can often have more of an impact than the words you utter. Some of the basics include a smile, a confident posture, eye contact and a firm handshake. Try to also limit other activities – fiddling with your phone as you talk to someone may come across to them that you are disinterested.

Dress presentably

How you dress is also important. Not all jobs require dressing formally (in fact, overdressing could make you come across a little too conservative), however you should always keep a tidy appearance such as not having any creases or stains on your clothes. Messy hair, dirty nails and stubble can also be off-putting to many people.

Improve your telephone manner

If the first time you interact with customers is on the phone, having a good telephone manner could be vital. Small details such as giving a warm greeting, remembering the customer’s name and speaking slowly and clearly can make people warm to you.  Some companies go so far as to outsource phone answering companies such as Ivy Answering to give a good impression on the phone. Having little interference on the phone is also important – when it comes to mobile phones, choosing a provider with the best signal could be important.  

Keep your workplace tidy

If a client’s first impression is likely to be a visit to your workplace, you want to make sure that your workplace is tidy. A lack of cleanliness can cause customers to immediately lose trust by showing that you’re careless and disorganized. Keep on top of tidying so that your workplace is always presentable – hire a cleaning company if you have to. Also make sure that your workplace is not in disrepair – a faded shop sign or a faulty automatic door is not going to create a good first impression. 

Make sure your website looks professional

When it comes to attracting customers online, your website is often the first point of contact. This needs to look professional so that customers know you’re competent digitally. You can build a website yourself, but if you want to guarantee a professional look you may be better off hiring the services of a website development company such as Cyberfrog Design. Aspects such as SEO could be important too for ensuring that your website has high rankings (this will make your company look more popular) whilst positive reviews and testimonials could also help gain trust online.

A Speaker’s #1 Weapon


Public speaking is the #1 fear of adults, but why? Up until a few years ago I dreaded speaking in front of an audience myself. Most people aren’t born with the gift of public presentation and as an introvert it can cause a lot of anxiety just thinking about it. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better so every opportunity to get up in front of people and speak, you should take advantage of. Confidence builds over repetition, but the one technique that elevated my speaking ability literally overnight is called The Memory Palace.

Essentially it’s a visualization routine to help you memorize your speech. Think about it. If there’s one aspect that stands out about great speaker, it’s their ability to not use notes. I always believed speakers who could orate without referring to an outline were superhuman. But with this technique not only do you give your audience the illusion that you have a fantastic memory, but your body language exudes confidence that is memorable.

Not only has it helped me become a better speaker, but it also cuts down on prep time because you’re remembering stories associated with images rather than reciting words written down on paper. When speaking only you know if something was omitted. You can always play off the fact a point was forgotten because no one else knows what you intended to say. There are many ways to plot your talk, but here’s what works for me:

1) Storyboard your ideas on paper in 4 equal quadrants

2) Organize your thoughts so the story flows

3) Add visuals (screen images and/or props) to enhance your message

4) Rehearse at least 3 times before you present

5) Smile and have fun speaking!

The formula of 70% presentation and 30% content has worked for me. Once I jot down my ideas, I shift my focus towards what clearly communicates my point to the audience. Your message is directed towards the crowd, not you. Stop preaching and start sharing. Body language plays such a huge role in the absorption of a presentation, so smile, make eye contact and slow down. Public speaking is becoming a lost art with the rise of technology, so if you want to stand out professionally learn how to become a great speaker.

If you want to improve your speaking skills, here’s the video that transformed me!