What employers want | Skills employers look for | Youth Central

No matter what the job, employers want people who have certain qualities. When you’re applying for a job, showing that you have these six things that employers want will help you stand out from the other job applicants.

One way to show an employer that you have these qualities is to use examples from your everyday life. We’ve suggested some ways you can do this.

1. Employers want experience

Most employers are looking for someone who has had experience in a paid job. Even if you don’t already have paid work experience, you can:

  • do unpaid work experience
  • do volunteer work.

Use your network of friends and family to find some work experience.

It’s also okay to tell an employer about your experience at school, in sports or social clubs, or work you’ve done in the community.

Just make sure you show how this experience can be relevant to the position you’re going for. For example, if you’re going for a retail position, you can show that your participation in a school fundraising event gave you experience in handling cash and dealing with customers.

2. Employers want teamwork skills

Employers also look for people with good teamwork skills.

Teamwork means getting along well with other people. It also means being able to work well with other people, and joining in with what’s happening.

Teamwork is also about good communication. This means being able to sort out problems with other people. It also means being clear about what you’re being asked to do, and asking questions if you don’t understand something.

You can get teamwork skills by being involved in school activities, doing work experience or volunteer work, or joining a sporting club.

3. Employers want reliable employees

Being reliable means showing that you can:

  • get to work on time
  • do your job well
  • stay in the job for more than a few weeks.

You can develop reliability by finishing things you start, and keeping your promises at home, school and at work.

4. Employers want initiative

Initiative at work means seeing things that need doing, and doing them without being asked. It’s doing that extra bit because you want to do a great job.

Showing initiative also means being able to solve your own problems – but knowing when to ask for help when you need it.

You can develop initiative by doing things without being asked at home, school and work. You can also practise working out how to do things on your own.

5. Employers want maturity

Maturity is being able to take responsibility for your own actions. This can mean not blaming other people or making excuses. It also means being able to listen to feedback about your work without taking it personally.

If you’re mature, you project a positive attitude at work. You’re friendly and approachable, and happily do any task that’s assigned to you.

Employers value these qualities because they want:

  • responsible staff who can work as part of a team
  • staff who approach their work with energy and enthusiasm
  • staff who can listen and express themselves clearly.

You can develop maturity by practising being positive at home, school and work, and not making excuses.

You can also develop these qualities by learning to work with other people in community or sporting clubs, and participating in volunteer work.

6. Employers want willingness to learn

Willingness to learn means being prepared to learn new things. It also means being interested in what you do, and looking for ways to improve.

Employers want staff who:

  • are interested in their jobs
  • make an effort to learn new things
  • enjoy coming to work.

You can develop willingness to learn by being curious. For example, ask your teachers, parents and sporting coaches lots of questions, and be interested in their response.

You can also set a goal for yourself to learn how to do something that interests you, such as photography or touch typing.