Speaker: 5 traits give you super powers

Published 1:03 am Friday, March 22, 2019

There are five things that give job candidates “super powers” in the eyes of employers, Mary Helen Little told participants in the 2019 Employment Training Conference yesterday.

Little, a pre-employment transition instructor, was the keynote speaker for the conference sponsored by the Covington County Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities. The theme was “Unmask Your Career Super Power.”

“What is your job right now?” Little asked the students, “Your job right now is to be a student, but there are several things that you can work on that will make you stand out to employers when you start going into the work field.”

Little said dependability, integrity, respect, teamwork and customer focus are characteristics employers seek.


“This is kind of what I would call a cheat sheet,” Little said. “Resource management talked to tons of employers to see what the five things they were looking for in young workers. You might think it would be hard skills like kitchen skills, cashiers or cooking. It used to be hard skills that they looked for, but now they are looking for this.”

Being on time and dependable is the number one thing that employers look for, Little said.

“There was a young man that I was working with that was already promised a job, but they told him that he had to be there on time and ready to work,” Little said. “That Sunday night, his car broke down and none of his friends or family was able to take him to work. Instead of giving up and not showing up, he road his horse to work and tied it up outside. The plant manager walked outside the next day and saw the horse outside and asked him about it. They gave him the job on the spot. Not only that, but the people in the company rallied up some money to pay for his car repairs. That just goes to show that if you go the extra mile, it will pay off.”

Little said that the students need to start practicing integrity and respect right now.

“Turning in things that you borrowed, keeping things private that were meant to be private, doing the right thing no matter what, preparing for assignments so that you are not tempted to cheat, by doing all of those things you are practicing integrity,” Little said. “I had people that said they would clock other people in early when they weren’t there, and they would say, ‘Oh, but it was only a couple of hours,’ or ‘But this is a big company they have enough money,’ that is a problem when you start doing things like that. That is how you get fired.”

The ability to work together towards a common vision is what Little said is another big thing employers look for.

“Ways that you can do that right now are joining a club at school and participate in the club’s activities,” Little said. “Maybe get involved with a group at your church or in your community, become part of a sports team, work as a part of a team on a school project, participate in a volunteer activity with a group. Volunteering is such a great way to build skill sets. We can all find ways to give back.”

Little said that by building a person’s brand is a way to insure that they have a great first impression.

“Think about your social media,” Little said. “What type of things do you put on there? Would you let me look at your Snapchat or your Instagram? Employers are always looking at that and that can be the determining factor of why you get chosen or not. So, by building your own positive brand and displaying a great attitude, that will draw employers in.”

She said that the best part of her job is being able to help young students everywhere.

“I love success stories,” Little said. “Being able to work day in and day out with students is really the greatest thing I have ever done. My heart is all in it and I want to see the students do better.”