When Looking For A Job, The Quality Of Your Character Is More Important Than Your Skills

by Ray Nettling

Graduation is right around the corner and you're still not sure what you're going to do in terms of landing a job. You've taken the necessary requirements to complete your major and started filling out job applications, but in the desired qualifications section, you happen to notice you do not have the necessary skill set the company has listed.

You begin to get frustrated and do not apply because you have yet to obtain the “necessary skill set” in your limited work experience. But take note: Although companies may have a list of desirable skills they are looking for in a candidate, you need to realize that lacking such skills is not going to be a deal breaker and you should apply anyway.

It is important to understand that your character trumps skill in the job market.

First, let's talk about what skills really are: They measure how well you perform. This includes typing skills, speaking skills, selling skills, product knowledge, etc.

A skill has an outward component and relates to the output of your delivery and quality of performance. Character, on the other hand, does not focus on your performance itself, but rather focuses on how you perform. Do you perform with passion? Do you perform with credibility and authenticity?

Character does not refer to the skill itself, but the delivery of that skill. Character is what defines your reputation and what causes people to remember you.

In light of the upcoming NFL Draft, let’s pretend for a minute that the hiring manager of a company you are applying for is the final decision maker when it comes to drafting a certain player. One of the key components that coaches, general managers and owners take into consideration when deciding to draft a player is his character.

All the players invited to the Scouting Combine are phenomenal athletes with potential upside for any given team. Let’s make a quick comparison in the mind of an NFL team’s general manager: You have one athlete with all-around impressive stats, but he has been involved in a few off-field issues. Now, you have another athlete, who may not have had as many touchdowns, but has stayed out of trouble and works twice as hard.

Is the team management going to be more prone to signing the player who has known off-field issues and who is a potential liability to the organization? Probably not, as coaches, general managers and owners know that if they want to win, they need to get the right players on the bus.

These players work hard, listen to their superiors, are excellent team players and fit the values and system of the organization. Coaches can teach the players skill sets like running routes and form tackling, but they cannot teach them certain characteristics like work ethic and a desire to win.

All of this can be said as well for hiring managers and the companies they work for.

In order for a company to be successful, it needs to hire the right individuals who are going to be valuable assets to the company, not necessarily because of the skills they bring to the table, but because of their character.

Great companies, managers and human resource departments understand that there are certain characteristics that cannot be taught. They understand the idea that it is much easier to teach someone knowledge about a product and the skills needed to sell that product than it is to teach someone how to be a team player, have amazing work ethic and a desire for success.

Prove to hiring managers that you are a quick learner, have a sense of responsibility, work diligently and are able to adapt to change. It will take you much further than simply a résumé full of skills.

Next time you decide not to apply for a position because you feel you lack the necessary skill set to be successful, apply anyway. If nothing else, it shows character that you were at least willing to try.

Photo credit: USA Networks