When I was young, jobs for high school and college students were plentiful. Whether it was restaurant, mill, or gas station work, most of my friends were able to pay at least part of their way through college. More recently, however, jobs for teens and young adults have become tougher to come by.
One reason is that in this current job market, employers are preferring to hire older applicants over younger. (There are plenty of older ones available these days!) Employers say the reason is that older candidates tend to be more reliable and have a better work ethic.
What does this mean for young people who want to get a job?
There ARE jobs out there for young people who are able to demonstrate the qualities that employers value. By knowing these qualities and focusing on applying them in your own life, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired and advance more rapidly. Here are the traits of a true workplace MVP in the eyes of employers:
These characteristics were drilled into me from a young age. By my senior year in college, my two summer jobs consisted of grocery stock boy and a paper mill worker. Those jobs were simply a means to funding my college education rather than long-term career interests. Although I didn’t care much for the work, as long as I was reliable and my work was of high quality, my bosses were happy. It was valuable experience and enabled me to pay my way through college. A worthy cause!
No one scores an A+ in all of these worthy qualities. Understanding this, how would you and the people who know you best rate you on these qualities? What are your strongest areas? Which need strengthening? Take the initiative to convert your weaknesses into strengths. You’ll be that much more valued by your employers and co-workers down the road.
How do you stack up on the most valuable employee qualities? In which areas do you see the greatest room for improvement? Please share your stories, comments, questions, and insights with our online community. We’d love to hear from you. Forward us to a friend!