In today's society, millennials are graduating from college at higher rates and are increasingly finding themselves without the benefit of job security.

Universities teach many different topics, but unfortunately, intentional preparation for the working world is not one of them.

It's no longer enough to be educated. Graduates must be able to use their knowledge in conjunction with traits that are genuinely wanted in the workplace.

Traditional employers are looking for employee traits that go beyond talent. The stereotypical traits of being lazy, entitled, and disrespectful applied to the millennial generation won't cut it.  

Here are 14 traits that millennials can cultivate and employers should look for when sifting through stacks of resumes:

1. Honesty

Being truthful about who you are as a person, what you are looking to accomplish with your work, and what benefit you can be to an organization is priceless.

Honesty breeds trust in any relationship. A person can have many qualities but if he lacks authenticity, he is incomplete.

2. Passion

A person who is passionate will not feel like she is working because she loves what she does. A passionate person is also committed to the organization.

They are willing to do more than is required of them (even if it is outside of their line of work). Employers love a person who aims to exceed expectations. 

3. Hard work

Ten percent of life is loving what you do. The other ninety percent is really hard work.

A hard working person eagerly and willingly puts in extra time, effort, and even resources when it is to the benefit of the client or necessary for a project to get done. 

4. Teamwork

Many companies have teams; very few exemplify teamwork. Teamwork means you're not in it for yourself. You are willing to engage with other people to bring about the best results.

Teamwork requires patience, tolerance, good social and communication skills, and willingness to compromise at times. 

5. Problem Solving

When a problem is presented, do you turn and run or do you put your hands on deck and start looking for a solution?

Developing a good process to use when approaching a problem and knowing how to implement alternatives shows confidence and creativity. 

6. Creativity

It is easy to get into a rut and focus on just the project that is in front of us. But employers want to employ people who look for ways to improve current functions and processes or solve complex problems.

Creativity is not just for a few smart people; it is for everyone who dares to cultivate it. 

7. Listening

Know-it-alls often ruin themselves and others in the long run. Being a good listener is a skill that can be intentionally developed. And it comes from within.

Bosses can pick up when a person is externally hearing them but not internally listening to them. Listening ensures rules are followed and goals are met on time.

8. Keep Your Word

This goes back to the first trait about honesty. If you say you're going to do something, be reliable, be dependable, and do it.

If you can't come through on a project because of unforeseen circumstances, be up-front about it. Keeping your word is all about honesty and earning respect. 

9. Humility

Everybody has bragging rights to something, but nobody likes to be around a boaster. Arrogance kills respect and stagnates creativity in the workplace.

Employers prefer hiring people who prove their value to an organization by work and not just words. 

10. Selflessness

It is automatic to think, What's in it for me?  Instead, a person committed to company and team goals asks, What's in it for us?

Selfishness breeds lies, cheating, self-indulgence, and an imbalance of power and pay. When employees strive to see their team grow as a whole, they are willing to sacrifice.

11. Initiative

A self-managed, self-disciplined employee is a match made in workplace heaven.

Every boss loves a person who doesn't have to be told what to do, capitalizes on his strengths, works on his weaknesses, and is willing to do more than is required. 

12. Good Conflict Management

Conflict is inevitable when dealing with people. How you handle conflict can be the difference between keeping your job or getting fired.

Employers look for that person who can keep a level head and cool attitude even when personalities are clashing. 

13. Positive

Complaining about the work, the boss, or the environment creates a bad atmosphere for all involved. Positive behavior influences a positive attitude and positive actions.

Employers love to see their employees with a smile on their face and in the voice, enthusiastic about working, and encouraging their co-workers. 

14. Take criticism

Sure, criticism stings. It can even leave a bruise. But if it improves your job performance and outlook on work, it is worth it.

Don't react with defensiveness or reverse attacks. Employers want employees to be teachable so they can grow as individuals and companies can do what they do best.

Published on: Jun 16, 2016