THE ACHIEVABLE SKILLS…
Presentation & Communication
This is an essential skill relevant to all graduates, especially those seeking their first full-time role. First impressions are everything, and if you get it right, you put yourself in a better position to successfully get the job. Basic attributes such as hygiene, a smart suit, manners, a handshake, a smile and eye contact are vital – that little difference that could get you the job ahead of someone else.
Time management is crucial. It demonstrates organisation, self-discipline and general efficiency skills. Proof that you can stick to an allocated time may be something that employers look for from your previous work experience. However, if you haven’t got any, you can apply real life time management situations from your time at university such as successful punctuality at university lectures – consistently for a whole semester. Time management shows that you are ready for the real world and full-time employment. So always make sure you arrive with plenty of time at a job interview!
MS Office knowledge
This skill is mainly developed while at university, with most courses testing your ability to use Microsoft Excel to organise data, PowerPoint to present content to your tutor and Word to write and submit all those assignments. Demonstrate evidence of this with your most successful piece of work over the course of your last academic year. Focusing on your dissertation study is usually a good example, as it is essentially the most important academic work students are encouraged to submit, and consequently should exhibit your literacy with MS Office. But don’t stop there; make sure you also stay up-to-date with the latest versions of MS Office – for instance, websites like Filtered train users in the 2010 and 2013 versions.
Social media usually provides some great insights into a company’s ‘voice’. By researching a company on social media and following and liking its pages, you can gain a good understanding of the commercial world around it, and how its brands and products communicate their marketing message and interact with their customers. You can also regularly check industry-specific websites and blogs, as well as keeping an eye on more traditional media – newspapers and magazines.
Every employer likes a leadership quality in each team member. However, this skill often comes with experience. Nevertheless, if you can demonstrate potential, for instance by expressing your opinion in team exercises, employers will recognise your ability to contribute towards successful decision making – essentially the sole purpose of a leader anyway.
Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer interested in graduate careers, online learning and productivity.
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