What does it take to get a job offer?
Yes, every employer is looking for someone with the specific set of skills necessary to perform a particular job. But most of the candidates that are shortlisted for an interview are qualified, so how do employers decide which one to pick?
Many job seekers don’t realize that beyond job-specific skills, there are certain qualities that most employers are looking for in candidates.
These qualities, often called soft skills, may be the deciding factor between who in a pool of equally qualified candidates gets the job.
1. English and Communication Skills (written, verbal and listening)
One of the biggest barriers to business growth in Tanzania, is the inability of the workforce to effectively communicate in English.
It’s unfortunate that skilled job seekers are unqualified for so many positions because they cannot write and speak English at the standards required for many business environments.
But this is the one skill mentioned most often by employers, and they will be analyzing your English skills in your CV, cover letter, writing samples and interviews.
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Employers love people who are flexible and can effectively juggle multiple assignments at one go. Being adaptable in the work environment is the ability to manage multiple projects and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing industry insights and work conditions. This quality is especially important for job seekers interested in working in Advertising, Marketing, Media, IT and Digital fields.
For instance, if you are working in online marketing, can you handle the needs of your corporate clients (e.g.: a supermarket wants you to write content for a new website) while still performing your daily tasks like posting on social media, writing the company blog and press releases.
3. Critical Thinker
Do you not take information at face value, but instead think about where it came from, why it was created and how it can help you?
Critical thinkers dig deeper than what lies on the surface, and they solve problems by using creativity, reasoning, and past experiences along with the available information and resources.
4. Proactive (takes initiative)
Another problem employer’s in Tanzania face is the lack of proactive and self-motivated employees. Many of us are taught to simply do what we are told, rarely, do we go the extra mile to get the job done or set ambitious expectations for ourselves.
Employers are always looking out for job seekers who love what they do and are not simply there to get the job done but have ideas and strategies to grow the business.
5. Willingness to Learn
Nowadays, many employees find themselves required to perform tasks that weren’t traditionally associated with their positions.
Due to the continuously changing technological and digital landscape, jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and all job seekers must show an openness to grow and learn with that change. If not, someone else will and they will be the ones that are hired.
And remember, even before you apply for a position if you are aware that certain skills are becoming important to your industry or ideal job position, take the time to learn them – this will make you more employable.
Bonus skill: Self-awareness
One of the most common questions employers will ask a potential employee during a job interview is, what are some of your weaknesses? Employers don’t ask this question to make you look bad, instead, they want to see if you can critically evaluate and be honest about your experiences and performance. And what’s more important, they want to see if you’ve learned from your failures. Being self-aware means that you understand and are willing to work with your shortcomings, as much as your strengths. It indicates to potential employers that you will:
- Take accountability for mistakes done at work
- Learn from these mistakes
- Work well with others as you are open to constructive criticism and know what skills to contribute to a team
- Grow and improve in your role as you are willing to work on your flaws
Invest in your future. Take an employability test.
Sometimes, job seekers are so focused on proving that they have the job-specific skills necessary to perform a job, that they forget about the qualities that will make them more desirable and stand out against other candidates.
Even the most successful people know that there is always room for improvement. So instead of passing up the opportunity of a great position, do research and take time to learn something new that will highly benefit you in your job-hunting experience.
And the good news is, is that all the aforementioned skills can be learned and gained.
One way to start is by assessing your strength and weaknesses. You can do this easily by taking the AMCAT employability assessment, and find out your:
- English and communication skills
- Logical and analytical thinking abilities
- Job-related expertise
- Personality compatibility with job position