Employers have been increasingly voicing concerns about job applicants – especially young ones – having basic job skills – what’s called soft skills.
The Idaho Department of Labor took up their cause recently with a workshop in Pocatello to help young people, typically first-time job seekers, find work. And a major focus was on the following soft skills:
- Showing up for work on time
- Proper dress and grooming
- Working well with others
- Showing initiative
- The ability to follow directions
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Being polite
Stacy Miller, Mary Johnson and Kim Smith discuss why soft skills are important to employers.
“Soft skills are one of the key factors which can move a young person from being a job seeker to an employee,” department Regional Economist Dan Cravens told the 30 people who took part in the workshop. “We had many employers and parents in the area request that we do a workshop like this so that local youth can better understand how they need to act in order to find a job, and do well at it.”
Many of the 16-to-24-year-olds face the same challenges young people across the country face – unemployment rates over 16 percent. Unemployment rates would probably be higher for this age group, but too many young job seekers have just given up hope of finding work.
Workforce consultant Robin Hollis answers questions about what Idaho Department of Labor consultants do and how they help Idaho job seekers find work:
What does an Idaho Department of Labor workforce consultant do?
Workforce consultants help with job searches and job placement. We also provide guidance, tools and tips to make a job seeker’s application and/or resume more marketable.
Some workforce consultants also help customers with unemployment insurance (UI) or programs that will make them more employable.
My main focus is serving as a Youth Case Manager. I work with at-risk youth between the ages of 16-21, help young people earn their GEDs or mentor and help them determine what career they want to pursue.
We also show people how to use the tools the Department of Labor has to offer such as Idaho’s Career Information System, Labor Market Information (wages and statistics) and all of the available agency website resources.
We asked Wells Fargo recruiter Maggie McCormick to offer some insight into the job search process and to offer tips to job seekers:
First of all, what does a recruiter do?
As a recruiter, I am in charge of the full life cycle of recruitment. I start with sourcing applicants from different place and then take the applicant through the entire process until the day they start with Wells Fargo.
Take us through the hiring process for the call center at Wells Fargo.
First the candidate applies. I typically review and contact either way within a week or so. At that point, we schedule a phone interview, and then if they pass that, it is typically a few days until their on-site interview. After the on-site interview, the applicant will either be declined or offered a contingent job offer within 5-7 days. Then the applicant must go through a background check that can take 1-14 days. After that, they are cleared to start in our next class.
Are you having trouble getting a job interview? Have you sent out lots of resumes without getting a nibble? Alison Green, who writes the Ask a Manager blog, lists four reasons why you might not be getting the attention of potential employers, including having a boring cover letter. You can read her full article here.