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Today's Job Market: What do You Need to Succeed?

written by: Matthew Craig•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 8/1/2011

If you are a recent high school or college graduate, you certainly don’t want to spend your time until retirement “holed away” in a boring job. Besides learning the specifics for your new career, you need to focus on broader trends, such as flexibility, communications skills and multi-tasking.

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    The Latest Trends

    emerging trend 

    Do you want to succeed in today's highly competitive and ever-changing job market? There are several attributes that today's employer's look for in potential employees. Job recruiters look for everything from resume preparation to interview savvy to certain personal and professional traits that make for an outstanding employee. In this article I will discuss the known as well as a few unknown emerging trends in today's job market. Let's get started. . .

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    The days of graduating from high school and starting a well paying job the next morning are, for all intents and purposes, gone the way of the eight-track tape player. One needs some level of education, certification, experience--really, a combination of all those--to succeed in today's job market. According to a study in 2010 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a difference of about $300 a week in earnings by those who had a bachelor's degree compared to those who had an associate's degree. Basically, the concept here is that education pays!

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    The more you know about the job going into it, the better it is for both employee and employer, because training a new employee from scratch costs companies time and money. If the new employee has gained experience during the course of his or her certification or education, then he can dive into the new position feet first. This enables the new employee to learn the specific elements of the new job on the fly, and not have to start from point zero, as he already has a feel for the basics of the job requirements.

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    To an employer, the ability to change as the job dictates is extremely vital in a potential job candidate. An emerging trend in today's job market is to have employees do several different tasks not necessarily within the scope of their job description, and this represents an essential quality in the modern employee. Fair or not, this is viewed in Corporate America as a necessity in today's economic climate. For example, if the CPA can have his secretary run errands for the office, answer phones, screen potential clients, etc., then the company can save in payroll expenses and still maintain the same productivity. A job seeker must be able to adapt to varying job descriptions as well as accept the concept that she must be able to multi-task and handle multiple duties traditionally dispersed among several employees.

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    Transferring and Moving

    The four-bedroom house and white picket fence as a permanent home is the emoving out xception rather than the rule in modern times. Emerging trends in the job market force families to be willing to transfer and relocate as jobs and their associative opportunities present themselves. This does not just exist for the families of athletes nowadays. It is ever present in many family wage jobs, both in the professional and blue-collar arenas. If an employee does not limit himself to one geographic area preferred in terms of employment opportunities, then the chances of moving up the ladder within a company increase exponentially.

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    The concept of taking the bull by the horns is not just limited to management staff nowadays. Instead, it is a sought-after quality that employers look for in employees. As the job market continues to change in diversity, vision, and structure, the need for official and unofficial leaders increase. This includes both word and deed. Modern executives and HR managers are looking for those who can anticipate what needs to be done and communicate that to their peers, as well as their subordinates.

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    As businesses encounter an increasingly diverse customer base, the need for great communicators is an essential in modern day employees. Communication as it applies to the workplace takes on a very broad concept. However, when communication is broken down into its most finite parts, it becomes obvious that verbal and nonverbal communication and being effective within this vein is not all that complex. In terms of the verbal side of communication, the modern day employee needs to be able to speak in a professional manner with customers, suppliers, management, etc. There are even classes and seminars that companies put employees through to refine this area of the workplace. This accentuates the importance employers put on communication. Whether it is the ability to speak more than one language or the ability to communicate during the course of conflict, this skill is vital!

    Nonverbal cues are also important. Sometimes people's cues skew the message of the verbal end. Being aware of your own body language during the course of a conversation in the workplace, or even during the highly important interview, can make or break the words spoken. Additionally, being able to read the body language of those to whom you are speaking is an essential quality that the modern day employee must possess.

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    As the world of change and economic upheaval continue to hit the workplace, being able to implement new skills, adapt to change, and take on new challenges can make or break your career. The above essentials of the modern day employee are just some of the many skills and attributes employers look for. Some are more important in certain settings within the workforce. However, this should get the job seeker off to a great start.

    So what are you waiting for! Get out there and start building your portfolio, and create that great foundation for success.

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    Bureau of Labor, Employment Projection: Employment Pays... at

    Isaacs, Kim for Put Your Education to Work on Your Resume, at

    Image Credit: Renjith Krishnan/Free Digital Photos

    Image Credit: Salvatore Vuono/Free Digital Photos