Attending college may teach students the technical skills required for a career, but what is not taught are the skills an individual needs to acquire a job.
On Monday, March 31st, GCC held its second “What Employers Want” panel during Financial Survival Week. Organized by Andra Hoffman, director of the Job Placement Center, the panel addressed what employers look for during interviews, the hiring process, and once individuals are on the job.
“It may be things as simple as making sure you get to work on time, calling in if you’re not making it to work in the morning and cleaning up your Facebook [page],” Hoffman said.
The panel, held in the J.W. Smith Student Center, featured three panelists from various fields of work. They included Madeline Akoqyal, (cq) the director of operations at Legal Solutions and General Services, Tim Ragus, director of training, recruitment and internships at Universal Studios, and Elodia Lopez, a police officer for the LAPD.
Despite varying opinions on matters that corresponded to their line of work, there was one thing they could all agree on – timeliness.
“I think punctuality is the most important thing,” said Akoqyal. “When a person hires you, they are counting on you.”
Lopez said that having flexibility and time to work is always something the LAPD looks for. The panelists also emphasized leadership skills and being able to write and communicate efficiently, qualities that make someone an asset for any given company.
Ragus said that they do not like employees who care too much about the money. Rather, they would like to know how someone will benefit the company and help it grow.
“Don’t talk all about money,” he said. “Talk about longevity and what you can bring to a company to build that company.”
Employers want to know that an individual has the company’s best interest at hand, not just their own. A way of doing this is to partake in an internship, paid or not, because it provides experience that employers look for.
A website that Akoqyal said should be frequented by students is www.internships.com. With over 3,000 internship postings, it is a useful tool for students who are interested in trying one out.
With about 30 students in attendance the panel was an overall success. Students engaged with the panelists, something Hoffman was hoping would happen. She emphasized that she wanted students to feel comfortable and to ask the questions they wanted answered.
Questions ranged from resumes to following up with a possible employer. Akoqyal advised following up at least a week after a resume or application is done.
“Be persistent with a follow-up – without being a nag,” she said.
At least one student, Jacky Avila, a second year student at GCC, said she would put the advice she received to work.
“I think more students should attend the panel. It gives you an advantage over a student that doesn’t know these simple things,” she said.
With the panel being a success last year and employers continuing to be open on providing this inside information for students; Hoffman hopes she can continue to organize this panel for years to come.