What Employers Want…

What Employers Want…


Last weekend, a Privately owned Nigerian University made history when they invited my Firm, Manners and Grace to come speak with their Graduating Students on the Social Skills needed to get ahead, post-University. Why this stood out is because they recognize that their Students will graduate with good grades, Yes, but still need preparation to enter the professional Business world.

I was really pleased to be part of this entirely altruistic move. So the evening came and I went as arranged, to speak with the Graduating Students over a posh dinner.

I shared with the Graduating Students that all Employers want the same thing – people with the technical know-how, people who are confident in social situations, people who are great team members and builders, and people who’ve got a terrific attitude.

I also shared well known and well tested job-hunting tips for success, as well as relevant tips for anyone already operating in the Business world, as follows:

  • Know what to do when being introduced to other people, be familiar with the proper protocols of introductions – Stand up for all introductions, Smile your best smile, See their eyes, Shake their right hand, Say your name, and Say their name back to them. In addition, when shaking hands, give a firm, not bone-crushing grip, watch your posture, and make direct eye contact.
  • Know how to enter and exit a room.
  • Be well groomed – Dress appropriately, Project a clean image, top to bottom.
  • Communicate clearly. Use a strong, clear speaking voice. At 16 years and above, we do not use slang, or use vulgar language if we do not want to appear delinquent.
  • Polish your email and letter writing skills. Use proper language; (But vs Buh, Later vs L8r, Great vs Gr8, Kk vs Ok, etc.), Proper grammar, Punctuation, Spell right, Respond promptly to emails, Show a positive attitude in your emails. Do not abbreviate unduly, and not at all in formal communication.
  • Practice proper telephone and cellphone Etiquette.
  • Know what is appropriate over Social Media. Do not show overly strong religious, political or sexist views. A general Rule of Thumb is – If you cannot say it to people’s faces, if you cannot act that way in person, if it may be offensive to your Boss or Parents, then you should not Post it, or Delete if it is already posted.
  • Remember names and occasions.
  • Master Networking – In a Social event, do not hide in a corner, avoid joining a Group of only 2 persons, or an overly large group. Do not sit with a scowl on your face.
  • Polish your dining manners. Know what to do with your napkin during and after a meal, what cutlery to use at what time of the meal.
  • Make a great first and last impression. People remember people with good manners.

I finally shared Best Advice from some already really successful people, as follows:

  • Be nice to people.
  • Work harder than anyone else.
  • Practice financial responsibility – Spend Less Than You Earn!
  • Find a mentor.
  • Build a good, reliable reputation. Be known as the person who shows up when they say they will.
  • Be open to the unexpected.
  • Set goals, but not in ink. Tweak regularly but realistically.
  • Have a great attitude!

I concluded by advising them that a great future awaits those civilized people who approach it with confidence and have worked really hard to position themselves for greatness. True!