Self-Motivation and Work Ethic
Developing the traits Employers Love
Note: Emphasising Employability periodically quotes ideas and examples from the UK. However, the challenges and solutions are global. Importantly, the plan is deliberately customisable where local, regional and international equivalents can be included to provide answers for people, businesses and local economies wherever you are.
- Many employers, especially technical ones, claim there is a miss-match between the young people they take on who have come out of the education system, and the specific skills and expertise required within the business
- Poor work ethic is sometimes levelled at young people entering the jobs market. Conversely, it is one of the most desirable traits for many employers
- Employers see too many CV's/Resumes and covering letters which are not targeted, relevant to the business and role, and well researched
- Sometimes candidates let themselves down during interviews, having got through the application stage. Poor performance may include not answering questions with high-quality relevant examples, not demonstrating the people-oriented team traits employers find desirable, as well as failing to ask well thought through questions that leave a memorable impression. All of these points are related to thorough preparation.
- Communication skills of some applicants can fall short of what employers expect. This includes verbal and non-verbal communication, written/digital skills and more broadly, appropriate dress sense.
- It's who you know. Well connected employees with fat contact books are very desirable for ambitious growing businesses. Not enough effort goes into professional networking
- Social networks are good, but may be pursued at the expense of interpersonal networking, where rapport and trust are built; so crucial to doing business, particularly long-term repeat business.
- For many there is a surprising lack of knowledge of what it is like to work in some sectors, particularly manufacturing. There are highly effective ways to gain this knowledge and insight, however many simply are unaware how to.
- Qualifications, skills and expertise of recruits far better matched between educational institutions and the expectations of employers, through the Localism Agenda's coordinated supply and demand. See here
- Proven practical programmes to develop and sustain a strong work ethic in young people. Commercial, charitable and academic coaching programmes would all be considered, provided they had a proven track record. Common topics for consideration and focus would include goal setting, time management, role model behaviours, recognition and incentive systems, rewarding enthusiasm, mentoring and coaching, prioritisation and working smarter, as well as practical ways of personalising and customising all these to specific tasks and work practices
- Intense CV/Resumes and Covering Letter writing clinics - best practices derived and driven from recruitment agencies and businesses. Plus guidance (including case studies) of how both should evolve depending on where you are in your career. CV/Resume scrutiny, critique, feedback and refinement from experts and employers would be part of the process. See CV/Resume and Covering Letter sections for more.
- A relentless focus on tailoring and targeting the CV's/Resumes to match the skills and experiences of the individual, to the specific role requirements and company strategy. This should always be based on structured research which applicants would be given pointers in how to do. Again, commercial, charitable or academic programmes could deliver these clinics, always with a focus on how the applicant would ruthlessly focus on demonstrating added value. More useful CV/Resume information is provided here.
- Similarly, Job Interview clinics would provide in invaluable programme to help candidates excel in front of potential employers, and to perform with confidence and credibility. Part of the process could involve recording and reviewing performance, followed by detailed recommendations for improvement and refinement. Like the listed employment solutions above, input would be guided by employers and local businesses.
- Alongside CV/Resumes and Interviews, clinics should also focus on essential communication skills, necessary to prosper and thrive in today's modern workplace. Verbal communication best practices (including listening) should be emphasised and practiced. Again, this can be enhanced with techniques like recording, playing back and critical review, following by detailed recommendations to be practiced. Professional coaches should be considered here with an emphasis on what modern employers expect.
- Verbal communication training should be complimented with advice about body language, as well as workshops to ensure written communication is up to the standard expected by employers. Finally, guidance should be provided regarding appropriate dress code for company interviews and work more generally. This should be derived from the expected norms within the industry sector and for the company specifically.
- For those considering technical careers and applying for the roles within related businesses, we have some provided some proven, expert guidance, available below...
Emphasising Employability... through Networking -
The art of networking in person and building up a range of contacts is an invaluable skill. Young employees can and should be taught how to do this in a natural, yet effective way. This is closely related to building your personal brand and becoming known within your sector. As ambitious individuals aim to advance their careers, they'll also be aware employers will recruit just as much for who you know, as what you know. As such, effective professional networking skills should be acknowledged and developed. Further networking topics include...
Emphasising Employability... through the Awareness of the World of Work
It surprises many employees that new recruits often know little about what work looks and feels like in many sectors. Yet, there are a range of ways individuals can enlighten and inform themselves, providing first class preparation for applications and interviews...
- Stay abreast of local company community open days and outreach events. Periodically check the local press for details in your area.
- Many organisations have social responsibility programmes where individuals can get to know businesses, including what they do. Often these are themed around charities, the environment, schools, well-being and many other worthy causes
- Talk to People! As mentioned above, the value of professional networking can not be overstated. Connect with people who work at businesses and organisations of interest online. Join in discussions, debates and forums. Ask questions. Just as importantly, make contact in person. Seek out organisations and people at exhibitions, conferences and industry events. Be memorable by getting into conversation.
- Factory Tours - Find out what happens behind the scenes of manufacturing businesses, often including a historical perspective.Take a tour of the different departments and gain a real appreciate of the technologies that are employed and the expertise and skills of the workforce. Search online for willing businesses, some of whom will periodically open up their facilities as part of their social responsibility and community outreach plan.
- Technical Visits - Related to the above, but often organised by willing organisations to accommodate a cohort of visitors at a time. The Professional Engineering Institutions frequently run technical visits to engineering, technology and manufacturing businesses of interest. Again, search institution websites for events.
- Online interviews with professionals - search online for short videos of people who undertake roles you are interested in. These are increasing popular and provide a unique insight into various aspects of the role, including context within the sector, highlights and benefits, as well as the working environment.
- Virtual tours and online visits - A number of websites exist now where you can take virtual tours of company sites, factories and plants, from the comfort of your own home. Removing the need to travel and fitting around a time that is convenient for you, there is an obvious attraction. Click on the video link below for more...