Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Learning to grow

If you want to appeal to employers, it is not just about offering the right skills, experience and cultural fit anymore. If you're looking for a new job, having a learning aptitude - in other words, the ability to learn - will give you an edge when competing for roles.

In today's rapidly changing world, employers want people on their team who can adapt and learn new skills. The ideal candidate should have a desire to learn and the aptitude to do so. Globalisation, the shift towards a knowledge economy and the sheer pace of technological changes in the job market place a premium on this ability.

So when job searching, remember that your educational and career background remain relevant, but they are far from the only factors by which employers will measure your suitability for a role. We suggest that at all stages of the recruitment process, from cover letter to interview, you promote your ability and willingness to continuously develop and update your skills as the business and market demands.

When applying for jobs, we advise you to be prepared for learning aptitude tests, just as you might expect to be tested for attention to detail or other relevant aptitudes. Also, expect to be asked specific questions about your ability to adapt and learn new skills.

Finally, it is always a good idea to prepare examples of how you have updated your skills in the past to the benefit of your previous employer. Link your learning back to the success it brought the business. Examples could include learning a new technology or language, working in an overseas office, or any situation where you have learned and experienced something new.

Marc Burrage, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong