By Dan Simmons

Everybody wants to know what they can do to stand out from the crowd in terms of landing a better job and improving their career. Are skills and talent a big part of standing out?  Of course they are.  However, they’re not the ONLY components involved in companies’ decision-making process.

Here are five stand out qualities that companies look for in candidates before deciding who to hire . . . and who to not: 

  • Positive attitude and personality

Although this point isn’t often considered, it’s basically a no-brainer.  People like to be around those who are friendly and fun.  They also like to hire people who are friendly and fun.

  •  Possess an expertise in something

While a versatile employee is nice, being able to rely upon somebody with an expertise is even nicer.  Be well-rounded, but also strive to achieve excellence in a single area.

  • Eagerness to learn and evolve

No matter where you are in terms of your professional development, you can always become better.  Employers know this, and they’re looking for candidates who are willing to continue that development once they become employees.

  • Willingness to do whatever it takes

It’s all about results, and companies want employees who aren’t overly concerned about job descriptions.  Achieving team goals and objectives are more important than what’s done on an individual basis.

  • Just plain different

Contrary to popular belief, companies NEED people who are different.  They need these people to introduce new ideas and new ways of looking at things.  If you’re one of these people, just be yourself

If you’re in the midst of a job search, no matter if it’s a proactive or a passive search, keep these five characteristics in mind as you engage in phone and face-to-face interviews.  It could mean the difference between standing out from the crowd—and blending in with everyone else.