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  • Michelle Coy

Qualities Employers Look for When Working in the Labor Industry

The labor industry is perhaps one of the most versatile and necessary industries there are to work in, responsible for producing important products that consumers use throughout their lives. Working in labor, which is defined as “the amount of physical, mental, and social effort used to produce goods and services in an economy," is a great option for professionals looking to begin or grow their careers in a dynamic industry. Besides its’ variety, there are other benefits attached to working in the labor field. These include job security/longevity, growth opportunities, and a sense of accomplishment, just to name a few. If any of these benefits appeal to your professional goals, then working in the labor industry might be for you. When considering a job in labor, it’s important to understand the different types, as it will affect what’s required of you. The two main types of labor are unskilled and skilled. According to Indeed, “Skilled labor refers to work that requires a certain amount of training or skills. This type of work is exemplified in electricians, administrative assistants, plumbers and more. Unskilled labor refers to work that doesn't require a certain set of skills or formal education. Some examples of unskilled labor include cashiers, grocery clerks and cleaners.”

Due to the pandemic, labor positions are in especially high-demand this year. Coupled with the holiday season, it’s a great time to find your footing in this industry. When reviewing resumes and applications, there are several (non-experience related) qualities employers will be looking for, whether you’re applying for a skilled or unskilled position. Below, we outline some of these qualities and why they’re important.


Reliable Being a reliable employee means that you'll show up when needed and consistently get the job done. For a manager, this is one of the most important qualities a candidate can have. They’ll want to know they can depend on you, so show your reliability up front: respond to their communication efforts in a timely manner, arrive appropriately dressed to the interview, and meet (or even better – exceed) their expectations every day.

Flexible The labor industry is dynamic in the way that it’s always growing due to new technologies and streamlined processes. Because of that, employers will be looking for candidates who can be versatile and adapt to changes in their responsibilities if necessary. This year in particular has taught us that businesses need to be able to pivot their focus in emergency-type situations – like the pandemic – and in order to stay along for the ride, workers need to as well.

Willing to learn When applying for a new job, it’s always helpful to envision where you’d like your career to go while working with a new team. If you’re someone who wants to learn more and advance in your position, make sure you tell your employer. Managers will appreciate employees who are willing to learn and grow at the company for a few reasons:

  • It shows you’re invested in your job and take it seriously.

  • Career growth is a huge factor in employee engagement and satisfaction.

  • Managers will lower costs by cross-training, as opposed to hiring a new employee.

Talk to your manager about how you can grow your skills in your desired field – they might be able to help you gain more experience or necessary certifications.

Have great soft skills Hiring experts suggest that great soft skills will be in high demand for recruiters throughout 2021. Soft skills are the characteristics that makes us, us –– like being a good communicator, the ability to follow directions, or being an effective leader. These skills are typically unable to be taught, but can be the difference between a good employee and a great employee. Remember that having the right soft skills and being a dedicated employee is just as important as having the right experience. By understanding what qualities employers look for in great labor professionals, landing the job you want will be all that simpler.

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