6 Skills Needed for All Jobs

softYou have likely heard about “soft skills” before. But what are they? Sometimes referred to as “21st-century skills,” “interpersonal skills,” or “applied skills,” they are the skills that are non-technical or specific to a certain job. They are the skills that help you think, communicate with people, and reflect on your experiences. Basically, your young adult needs them to thrive in the workforce. Career coach Jane Horowitz says the basis of her coaching practice is “hire for attitude, train for skills,” and she sees will and drive as being the greatest determinants of young adults getting hired.

“We hear it time and time again, it’s the soft skills,” says Terri Tchorzynski, 2017 National School Counselor of the Year. “That’s what allows you to keep the job. Employers can hire our students and train them, but if they don’t have the soft skills, it’s really hard for them to stay employed.”

According to the Harvard University “Pathways to Prosperity Project” study in 2011, U.S. employers are increasingly seeing students graduate from college unequipped to survive in the 21st century workforce. Specifically, they are “deficient” in skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and communication. Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of Rainmaker Thinking and expert and author on young people in the workplace, has been tracking the generational change in the workplace since 1993. According to Tulgan (and many other experts and employers), there is a gap in soft skills from previous generations to the generation entering the workforce today. Employers want certain skills in their employees, regardless of the field. And not only do employers want these skills, but employment and wages have increased in most occupations that require higher social or analytical skills (like communication, management, or leaderships skills), according to Pew Research. Most workers understand this too; according to Pew Research, workers say softs skills are more important than technical skills in order to do their jobs.

The value of these soft skills can be considered good news! No matter what students study in school or what path they take after high school, they can work to learn these skills to help them be successful in the workplace. These are the six skills your young adult will need no matter what their career path:

  1. Communication

    The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most essential skills for the workforce. No matter the job or field, communication is required both inside and outside an organization. Parents see the value, too! According to the NBC News State of Parenting Poll, sponsored by Pearson, 54% of parents said good social and communication skills are most important for their child’s future success (more important than grades). Pew research found the same; communication skills were the most important skills Americans say kids need to succeed in life.

    “Communication is a big one,” Tchorzynski says. “A lot of students struggle with it because they are used to communicating electronically and they are challenged when having conversations face to face with somebody.”

    Having communication skills that make your young adult career-ready means they can articulate thoughts clearly, express ideas through oral, written, and non-verbal cues, and listen to ultimately gain understanding. In addition, with the increasingly digital world, it is essential that they are able to share and deliver information through digital means. Having relationship skills and social awareness are two central components of effective communication. Young adults should understand how to be respectively assertive, think about themselves within the context of a greater organization, understand the social rules of the workplace, and know how to communicate within that structure.

  2. Teamwork and Collaboration

    Most jobs will require some sort of teamwork and collaboration between employees. Young adults must have the ability to work in a team structure. When young people enter the workforce, they need to learn to think beyond themselves and their own desires, and toward the common goal of the company or organization they are working for. As a new employee in the workforce, young adults are rarely the bosses and need to learn to be team players. They must use their skills as something they offer to the company. In the early years of a career, teamwork is often demonstrated through hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. This means playing whatever role is needed to support the mission of the organization. It also means celebrating and supporting the successes of other employees. Teamwork requires employees to foster relationships with their bosses and coworkers and to be socially aware about the context of these relationships.

  3. Professionalism

    The shift from college or high school to the workforce can be a big adjustment for young people. The responsibility and self-management required to be successful at work can be totally different than environments young people are used to. The key to professionalism is forming good work habits. Being on time, responsible, and organized; these are all skills that are important in professional settings. Being on time is perhaps the simplest, yet most essential part to professionalism. “When you clock in for a job, and my job starts at 8, I am there and ready to work at 8, not walking through the door,” Tchorzynski says.

    Young adults must be able to keep their work organized and be responsible for deadlines and projects assigned to them. Young people should be sure to communicate clearly with their bosses about these expectations. These basics are all part of learning to manage oneself and one’s time.

  4. Self-Management and Initiative

    Employers want workers who have leadership qualities. This does not mean that young adults will be a leader of the project or boss in the department, but it does mean they possess certain skills that show leadership potential. This means they have self-management and initiative. Self-management in the workplace includes the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize your work. This means having follow-through and discipline to stay on track with assignments and projects. Initiative is the ability to act or take charge to do things without being asked. This quality is highly sought after for employees as it shows a deep level of motivation and curiosity for the work they are doing. It’s also often extremely beneficial to a manager to be able to rely on employees to take initiative without waiting to be asked to do a task first. Finally, young adults should be able to self-evaluate their performance by assessing their actions, work, and projects against goals, timelines, and general work guidelines.

  5.  Critical and Creative Thinking

    Critical thinking is the ability to make an evaluation of something by assessing, analyzing, and examining the issue or topic. It requires not just accepting what is, but looking further for other possibilities. Creative thinking, on the other hand, is a way of looking at problems or situations with a fresh perspective and suggesting new or nontraditional solutions and ideas. Critical and creative thinking go hand in hand, and both are required for the workforce today. Young adults need to be able to make decisions and solve problems using their creative and critical thinking skills. This may be examining data and providing an informed analysis to report to their boss or coming up with a creative solution to a project hurdle.

  6.  Global Fluency & Perspective

    In today’s economy, workers need a broad understanding of the world around them. More and more employees are finding themselves interacting with people who are different from them. Having a global perspective means respecting diversity, and being open, inclusive, and sensitive to all people. People must be able to interact with and be respectful to people from different cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, political ideologies, and religions. Being globally fluent includes having digital skills, which are essential in today’s economy. However, this does not just mean having the technical skills, but also the knowledge of appropriate social media use, informal vs formal emails, and how to effectively communicate online.

Source:  parenttoolkit.com

Job Fair: June 6, 2017 at Orasure Technologies, Bethlehem

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Allied is hiring for one of the Lehigh Valley’s leading companies:  Orasure Technologies in Bethlehem.  OraSure develops, manufactures and markets point-of-care, oral fluid specimen collection devices, diagnostic products, and other medical devices and was named a 2016 Top WorkPlace.  TWP2016

We are looking for Manufacturing Technicians for long-term roles at Orasure.  These opportunities offer a starting rate of $15/hour, a 4-day work week, and an excellent working environment with opportunity for growth.  We’ve helped many people begin successful careers at Orasure; be our next Success Story!

Visit us at our job fair on Tuesday, June 6th, 8am–2pm, on-site at Orasure (220 East First Street, Bethlehem, PA  18015) or apply online today!

Summer Dress Code Tips

As the warmer weather approaches and we swap our sweaters and winter work wear for summertime garb, it’s important to keep dress code in mind.

What is appropriate professional dress for summer? Naturally, dress code varies a bit for every employer, but there are some general rules of thumb to follow.

Skirts & Dresses

Be very conscious of the length of any skirts or dresses you choose for work. They should fall at the knee or below. Find yourself questioning the appropriateness of length? Save it for an occasion outside of work.

Shorts

Tailored shorts have become a trend, and they are often paired with a blazer giving them the feel of a professional dress option. However, they are most likely not suitable for those adhering to traditional, professional dress code standards. If you are working in a business casual environment, they may be acceptable provided that the length is appropriate, falling at or below the knee.

Spaghetti Straps & Tank Tops

Any top with thin straps is best covered by a cardigan or blazer. Some employers have no problem with a sleeveless, but tailored blouse. Remember, however, that a bare or nearly bare shoulder is not regarded as professional.   

Summer Footwear

Traditionally only a beachfront staple, flip flips have become a summer dress essential for many. While employers with a casual dress code may allow flip flops in the summer months, many others adopt the conventional mindset that they are not at all work appropriate. Check your employer’s dress code policy, but know that flip flops are to be absolutely avoided when dressing for interviews, professional events, or meetings with clients. An open-toed, professional shoe, however, is often acceptable in the summer months.

 

Always be sure to have a clear understanding of your company’s dress code policy and whatever you’re wearing, in any weather, aim to present yourself as a polished professional destined for success.

 

 

Summer Staffing

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Summer is right around the corner! Your busy season may be coming, vacations may be looming, and interns may be knocking on your door. This year think about how Allied can help you make summer staffing a breeze.

Allied has a network of new and returning college students that can help you:

  • Meet peak production times by supplementing your staff
  • Ensure shipping deadlines are met by covering staff vacations
  • Complete projects you’ve saved for later
  • Cover your front desk during vacations

Do you already supplement your staff with the use of interns? Consider payrolling. Allied can: 

  • Screen, on-board, and pay the interns you’ve recruited  
  • Handle employee paperwork and payroll processing 

For more information or suggestions on how you would benefit most fully from our summer offerings, contact us.  We can help you get the most out of your summer help. 

2017 Resume Refresh

imgresAs 2016 winds down, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and gear up for 2017.  It is also the perfect time to give your resume a refresh.  If it has been a while since you updated it there may be significant changes in your skills and experience that aren’t reflected.  Here are a few tips to help guide you through the process.

Review the past year.  Have you completed any significant projects?  Do you have any added responsibilities?  What new skills have you acquired?  Looking through your calendar for the past year is an easy way to remember your accomplishments.  If you received a performance review take a look at that also, as it should include some details that might need to be added to your resume.

imagesUpdate your keywords.  Strategically using keywords throughout your resume is essential to ensure that employers find you, and also that your resume makes it through the automated resume screening tools that many companies utilize.  Your objective or summary statement at the beginning is an easy place to include keywords, and it’s also an easy area to edit when applying for specific positions.

Consider a redesign.  While you are editing the content of your resume you should also think about updating the style.  A new format might allow you to better highlight some of your recent achievements, or it can help your resume stand out in a crowd of others.  Be careful not to overdo, however;  keep it professional and remember that sometimes less is more.

Get an objective opinion.  Ask a friend or colleague to look at your resume and give you their honest feedback.  It can be helpful to seek the opinion of both a person who knows you well and also of someone who doesn’t know you very well.  Comparing the feedback of both can help make sure that you’ve crafted a resume that speaks to who you are and what you’ve accomplished.

Need an objective resume review?  Talk to one of the staffing professionals here at Allied.  Working with a staffing firm is the perfect way to begin a job search and we would love to help you with your 2017 resume refresh!

10th Readers’ Choice Win For Allied Personnel Services

Allied Personnel Services has been named Best Employment Agency in the 2016 Morning Call Readers’ Choice awards.  This marks the 10th win for Allied, confirming our status as the leading staffing company in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to all of our clients and employees that voted for us.  We are proud of our service to the Lehigh Valley over the last 32 years and look forward to our continued commitment to our community.

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Preparing for Pre-Employment Testing

screening_and_assessment 2If you are a current job seeker, chances are you’ve encountered some sort of pre-employment testing. Many employers include evaluations in their hiring process to more fully evaluate your skills.   Pre-employment tests may assess specific technical skills to help the employer determine your ability to perform the job or they may assess your personality to determine how you would “fit” into the company’s culture. Preparing for these evaluations ahead of time can increase your chances of receiving a job offer.

 

Before the Test

  • Study.

Obviously you won’t be able to study for a personality test; however, preparing for tests designed to evaluate your technical skills is easier. Review relevant materials you have from previous jobs or from training courses and class work. Do some simple puzzles or brainteasers to help improve your analytic problem-solving skills.

  • Reduce your stress.

The more relaxed you are prior to the test, the better you will perform so try to eliminate as many potential stressors as possible. Make sure you know where you are going for the test and allow enough time to arrive early. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat a good breakfast so you aren’t hungry at test time. Studies show that test takers who have recently eaten have improved cognitive ability.

The Day of the Test

  • Be sure you understand the instructions.

Thoroughly review all written directions, and get clarification on anything that is unclear. Is there a time limit? Are you allowed to use any aids (i.e. calculator)? Can you skip questions and return to them later? If you are unsure of an answer should you guess or leave it blank? Ask these and any other questions before you begin the test.

  • Manage your time.

Keep in mind the time limit for completing the test and always use your time wisely. Even if the questions seem simple, don’t rush in order to finish quickly. Conversely, if you get stuck on a particularly difficult question don’t spend an excessive amount of time trying to figure it out.

  • Review your answers.

Some computer-based tests won’t allow it, but if possible, review your answers when you are done.

Pre-employment tests and evaluations don’t have to be unexpected hurdles to cross during the interview process.   By following these simple steps, you can meet the challenge head on and with confidence.