If you are searching to fill a vacant position with the vision of the ideal candidate, someone who has all the applicable experience, all of the required skills, and a great personality to boot, you might just be passing over some excellent candidates that have more to bring to the table than you think.
Broadening your scope of acceptable qualifications to include individuals with some basic work experience may bring you surprising results. Some common industries that often employ those just starting out in the workforce help to build a solid foundation of professional skills and work ethics. Look for a couple of these areas of expertise on a resume and you may just find a candidate who has workable skills that can be molded into exactly what you are searching for.
The Restaurant Industry
Be it in fast food or fine dining, one of the most common first jobs is in the restaurant industry. As a Hostess, Cashier, Prep Cook, or Server, if you want to be successful enough to make it through a crazy shift unscathed, you have to learn some pretty solid methods of survival and you have to learn them fast. The best restaurant workers must be quick on their feet and take ownership of their work. No one is going to be responsible for the amount they are tipped more than them, so their service has to be top notch if they want to succeed. People who work in the restaurant industry have to have a solid grasp of communication skills and customer service. Without these two components it can be all sink and no swim. Successful workers in the restaurant industry know how important it is to organize their work, prepare for the rush, keep their work area clean and maintained, and keep their head in the game when under pressure. Add cash handling to this skills repertoire and you have one solid foundation for branching out and learning the basics in any aspect of business. From sales to administration, a restaurant job can be a great starting point for learning any business profession. These individuals can upkeep an office, troubleshoot equipment, provide excellent customer service, work under pressure, and multi task like the best of them.
Retail and Sales
Working in retail gives you somewhat of a similar variety of skills and abilities as well. In apparel or other soft lines for example, Sales Associates and Store Workers develop a keen eye for detail and must teach themselves how to do the most redundant tasks quickly and efficiently, such as folding polo shirts or bath towels into perfectly aligned stacks. They have to man a cash register and assist customers efficiently as well. As they are answering one customer’s question, they have to ring up another’s purchase and grab the phone with a smile without skipping a beat. Lacking attention to detail during any transaction and it may be reflected in their balance at the end of their shift. A worker who has learned to manage and order inventory has acquired focus and accuracy as well. Overall, being thorough and focused while multitasking and often working under pressure is an ability a lot of great retail associates have. Anyone working in this industry after long enough knows how to keep any work space looking neat and presentable and knows how to keep their workflow at the most productive pace.
Last on the list: The College Student. With little to no paid work experience, you may think the lack of exposure to the business world limits the college student’s professional ability. However, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the close-to-blank resume you may be reviewing. Serious multitasking, organization skills, and time management are some foundational skills that no college student can survive without. Every college graduate has to have a certain amount of determination, commitment, and drive to get through their program. Even a student who lacks any one of these has to make up for it with improvisation skills and problem solving techniques that will come in handy before any forgotten about and rapidly approaching deadline. A successful college student has had a variety of opportunities to learn a myriad of skills from social and communication skills to critical thinking and innovation. There is a great probability that they will prove to have a lot more to offer than their limited work experience might suggest.
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