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7 attributes that will get you hired in a recession

7 Attributes That Will Get You Hired In A Recession

There are 7 skills most employers are looking for today. If you can demonstrate you are a leader, have good communication skills, can be flexible, are a team player, have ideas, can work with others and are not afraid of hard work, you will stand a better chance of being employed.

Before I start explaining each of these skills, I would like to share Grant’s story with you.  Grant was good at his job, friendly with his colleagues and well-liked by his bosses.  After 10 years as an accountant, Grant was ready for more responsibilities. But no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get himself shortlisted for interviews. 


You could be your worse enemy in the job market

As a career coach, I work with individuals to develop their careers. Working with a career coach gives you the confidence to pursue your ambitions. Grant had been applying for a job for nearly six months before he contacted me. He was at the point of giving up.  

One of the first things we did together was to identify the negative barriers that could be impeding his career ambitions. Negative barriers are unconscious behaviours or attitudes that we may not be aware of. They are costly mistakes because they could be the reasons why our job search efforts have been unsuccessful.   

Author and Harvard Business Review contributor – John Lees says you could be your worse enemy when it comes to getting hired. According to Lees, there are six types of frustrated job hunters. Do you identify with any of them?  


The job hunter who says ‘all this job-hunting advice is a waste of time’ –   If you hate taking advice from others you fall into this category. The experts know what they are talking about when they say you need to craft a superior resume and you need to prepare for an interview. Not taking good advice can result in poorly written resumes, a lack of knowledge of what the market is looking for and unawareness of the wrong messaging you are conveying in an interview.

The job hunter who won’t change old ways – Pride and habit can cost you a job. If you behave in the same dull manner at every interview and you haven’t been hired yet, it is obvious you will need to change tactics.

The angry job hunter – If you are angry with the process then job hunting will become long and painful. Eventually, you will believe that nothing is going to work, and you will give up. Worse, if you do get an interview, some of this anger may surface in the interview to scare away the prospective employer.

The covert job hunter – For whatever reasons, you cannot bring yourself to make ‘real’ connections with your networks.  Instead of picking up the phone to call or Zoom a contact, you send a faceless email into oblivion. The job search process is an extroverted activity and there are tactics even the most introverted individuals can adopt if they want to secure a job.

The job hunter who hesitates –You know all the right strategies to secure yourself a job, yet you hesitate to carry them out? Whether you are afraid to step out of your comfort zone or don’t want to take the risk of rejection, if you don’t look for a job, you will never get employed.

The job hunter who learns to do things right late in the day – So, you’ve made mistakes and have suffered some colossal setbacks, but you are not giving up. You’re going to pick yourself up and do it again.  Only this time you are going to do it better.   This type of job seekers will eventually land a job.


7 attributes that will get you employed in a recession

Job hunting is about communicating your personal brand, influencing a decision, and eliciting a positive response. It is about persuading a stranger (or a group of strangers) to believe in you enough to want to take the risk of hiring you. Consider this analogy as an example:  A job search is not about filling up a postal vote. It is about getting yourself elected. If you want to get elected, you have to invest time, money, and energy into the process. The more you invest, the better your chances will be. 

A recession is a difficult time to look for a job. But extenuating circumstances should not be a deterrent for you to try. Whether you are new to the employment market or an experienced worker, knowing what employers are looking for can help you secure a job.

In my work, I am often asked ‘What are the important attributes an employer wants?’ In a pandemic recession, things have changed a little. The soft skills employers want today are still the same ones they were looking for previously but now their focus is slightly different. If you understand the challenges faced from remote working from home, you will be able to align your skills to match what employers want today.  


Here are 7 important attributes, employers want today:

1.Effective communication

Communication is the key to productivity in the new era of remote working from home.  Every aspect of work is now dependent on clear and precise communication.  In volatile situations like a pandemic, a persuasive voice can go a long way in securing a contract, closing a sale or calming an entire workforce.

Whether it’s an email, a cover letter or a Zoom call, the power of your words can set you apart from other candidates. Every business today needs content creators, social media experts and PR professionals. A graduate who has a rich mastery of the language is considered an asset in an organisation.


2. Leadership

Are you a natural-born leader or do you possess the attributes to be one? Leadership is not exclusive to managers only. Even shopfloor employees can demonstrate leadership qualities.

Early leadership theory defines leadership as a set of behavioural traits that are ingrained in the individual.  Modern times however have proven that many of these attributes can be acquired through learning and experience.

I use this checklist with my clients to help them identify the leadership qualities they have and the ones they may have to develop. Read the list and see how many of these qualities can you tick ‘Yes’ to. 

In a recession, the ability to lead is an asset to an organisation. If you are an entry-level worker, you naturally will not have staff to manage but leadership qualities are about self-awareness and authenticity. Leaders survive strife better than followers. Organisations will want to invest in people they know can creatively solve problems and take up new challenges when they need to.


3. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your own emotions and to perceive what others are feeling. Hiring managers are good at picking up your non-verbal cues in an interview. Are you self-absorbed or self-aware? Do you have the interest of the organisation at heart? Or are you only thinking of yourself? Can you comfortably fit into the status quo – i.e. existing staff and managers in the organisation? Are you projecting confidence and humility? 


4. Teamwork

The new workplace is one where staff are scattered across different suburbs.  Employers are concerned about staff engagement and productivity and will want to hire a worker they know can work in a team – albeit a virtual one. A good team player must be able to collaborate, influence and compromise when required.


5. Diversity

Australia’s melting pot of cultures means your work will likely involve interactions with diverse cultures whether as work colleagues, customers or suppliers. Diversity gives you a range of talents beyond your personal world view and ethnicity. Many businesses recognise that diversity and inclusiveness are critical for business recovery post-COVID-19 and are more likely to hire a candidate who can demonstrate cultural empathy.


6. Flexibility and adaptability

The current work environment is volatile.  No one can predict what will happen next.  In challenging times, employers are more likely to hire a candidate they think can cope better with change.


7. Hard work

In a shrinking job market, employers are spoilt for choice in terms of who they want to hire. You are competing with others who could be better qualified and more experienced than you. You have to show that you are better than all of them.

Do you know the first impression of your work ethic is evident in your resume, cover letter or email communication? Check and re-check every single piece of writing before you press send.


At the start of the section, we asked how many of these attributes you possess.  Jobs may be scarcer in a recession but most of us still need to work.  The best career decision you can make for yourself now is to invest some money in reinventing yourself so you’re more employable. For specialist one-to-one skills coaching that delivers results, enrol in Careerists Academy’s ‘Your Future Career 2.0 here.


Disclaimer:  The events and characters depicted in this article are fictitious.  Any similarities to actual persons, dead or alive, is purely coincidental.

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