Career Prep 

Impress the Boss

You’ve got a new job. You want to make a good impression. What to do?

Experts say work on your employability skills: customer service, teamwork, a willingness to learn, and the desire to do things the right way. Employer surveys consistently show that good employees demonstrate their:

  • Ability to work in a team
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Analytical/math skills
  • Flexibility


How would you rate yourself in those categories? Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from teachers, colleagues and your employer on how you can improve. Showing that you want to do your job better means you are on your way to making a good impression.

The Surprising Truth About What Employers Really Want

As senior director of talent acquisition for the global healthcare company Roche Diagnostics in Indianapolis, Terra Doyle meets countless job seekers each year, and also compares notes with her industry colleagues.

What do recruiters like to see in applicants? The usual rules apply, of course. Be professional in your presentation—even your email can speak volumes—and put your best foot forward, Doyle says.

Tech skills may be in demand, and if you’re in finance, you better have a handle on accounting. But surprisingly, there are other key qualities employers want that have nothing to do with skills. Instead, Doyle looks for evidence that a candidate displays:

Teamwork. “Showing that you can collaborate is a really big one,” Doyle says. Employers want to know if you work well within a group environment, she says.

Being willing to take risks. Candidates shouldn’t hesitate to talk about projects or experiences that were not successful, and what they learned. “The term we use is ‘fail forward,’ Doyle says. “We learn from every opportunity, and sometimes we learn and become better for it.”

Agility. Roche, like many employers, is shifting away from the idea that each employee should have just one core competency or skill, Doyle says. Instead, there’s an increasingly strong emphasis on agility, which means that a candidate is open to learning new skills all the time and to take on new responsibilities, learning to be successful in whatever role is needed.

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