According to employers, most job seekers don’t have enough skills. This is just one of the many findings from a new survey, released last month from the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC). They commissioned Environics Group to survey 500 employers in the fall of 2013 and some of the results provide great insight for job seekers.

Employers are very concerned that there is a huge shortage of skilled workers in the labour market. While not surprising in itself, what is shocking is the large number of companies affected by this problem. Almost 7 out of 10 executives feel this is the single biggest issue facing business in 2014.

A large percentage of executives, 72% from the survey, also recognize a large gap between the skills needed and those skills job seekers have to offer. Either job seekers are not promoting themselves well enough, or there is a real disconnect from what is being taught in our schools. Highlights of the report can viewed on the CERIC website.

Why should a job seeker pay attention to this report?

Understanding the challenges facing employers is key for those wanting to work for them. Employers want candidates who can recognize their needs. Addressing these issues in your own job search strategy is a very smart tactic. It can separate you from other job seekers vying for the same job and move your resume to the top of the pile.

According to the survey, here are five things employers want job seekers to know:

    Identify Sought After Skills – This report is not the first, nor the last, to identify a growing skills gap in our labour market. As a savvy job seeker, identify those skills employers seek. If your skills are lacking in some areas, then invest in training. Let a company know that you have a plan to attain the necessary skills, or are willing to learn. This is a huge plus for employers.

    Soft Skills are Essential – In the survey, 66% of employers said they had trouble finding candidates with essential soft skills, such as a positive attitude, good communication and a strong work ethic. Employers stated that if a candidate had the proper soft skills they would be willing to train on the technical aspects of a job. As a job seeker, always remember to promote your soft skills on your resume and during a potential job interview. They are just as important as any other skills you possess.

    Perfect Your Resume – According to the survey, 76% of employers believe that resumes are still very important for a candidate. An additional 10% of executives believe that resumes have become even more crucial than before. It is evident that while job search strategies have shifted to social media and other online platforms, employers are still very interested in your resume. Make sure your resume shines.

    Polish Your Online Presence – More than 50% of employers said that a potential candidate’s ‘online footprint’ was important to them. Always assume that an employer is going to google your name, or view your Facebook page. What are they going to find? Don’t let a negative online post, or picture, sabotage your job search.

    Be Realistic in Your Expectations – Employers want you to be happy in the workplace, however, this only goes so far. According to the survey, 7 out of 10 executives feel career management programs are important to staff, however, only 1 in 3 employers surveyed actually offer such programs. Always be mindful of what you can offer an employer, not what they can offer you.

Employers want to hire you! Give them every reason to do so. Create a well-rounded job search plan that addresses these employers’ concerns. You will be well on your way to job search success. Good luck!

Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of He can be reached at