Once considered a path for the intellectual, enrollments to universities and colleges around the world are at all-time highs. This, of course, means that a record number of graduating students are finishing their degrees and searching for relevant jobs. Competition for such positions has never been so fierce. While obtaining such a sought-after position may be a little more difficult in the modern day, that doesn’t mean the opportunity is off limits to you.
With the right skills, you can drastically improve your chances. We’ve put together 7 must-have skills as viewed by management and recruiters across a range of industries.
In the modern day, the majority of businesses are often operating in a global environment. Whether through clientele, outsourcing projects or ordering supplies from abroad, it’s likely you’ll encounter foreign cultures in some respect. To succeed in such an environment, it’s necessary to have an understanding of cultural norms and to be culturally sensitive. Business practices invariably change from one culture to another. The understanding of these differences could mean the difference between obtaining or losing prospective business.
Communication can take many forms and is viewed as one of the key attributes an employee must have by recruiters. The spread of ideas, the sharing of information and the resolving of conflicts are all part of communication that can take place both internally and outside an organization. This can also include the aforementioned cultural knowledge and communication across a range of cultures and business environments.
Perhaps the most important of all attributes for prospective employees to possess is the ability to work as part of a team. This means co-operating on projects and addressing issues as they arise, ensuring small problems don’t escalate. It also means managing conflicts. Not only conflicts with the work itself but clashes between personalities and personal agendas.
Perhaps a graduate fresh out of college wouldn’t expect leadership to be a trait they are judged on. They’d be wrong. Leadership can take various forms and isn’t solely reserved for upper management or ownership. The ability and confidence to make decisions is one aspect of leadership, as is encouraging and motivating fellow employees. This doesn’t have to take a verbal form, but can be demonstrated through commitment and dedication to the task. Delegation of tasks is another essential component of effective leadership, something new employees should already be looking at executing.
The ability to plan and prioritize work leads to efficiency in the workplace (a major corporate buzzword) and ensures the most important tasks are delivered first. Deadlines have to be met and how you demonstrate your ability to meet them will be taken into account. While organization comes naturally to some, there’s no doubt it’s a learnable/teachable skill. If you can demonstrate this effectively, starting with your resume, you’ll get a considerable jump-start on the competition.
Specific Technical Skills/Knowledge
Gone are the days where it paid to be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. In our current day and age, corporations look for highly skilled individuals, with expertise in 1 or 2 specific areas. Obviously, it pays to build this expertise for the position you wish to apply for.
School specific training isn’t necessarily adequate to demonstrate this, practical and extra-curricular coursework/training is viewed favorably.
Ability to Analyze Data
The need to understand analytics is essential to most industries. Whether you are working in a field such as marketing, law or human resources, part of your position will involve data analysis in some aspect. Whether it be analyzing the performance of a marketing budget or understanding demographics of your target customers, numbers allow a more effective service or product to be delivered.
It is essential to give yourself an evaluation of the 7 areas listed above and determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Perhaps with the help of a trusted source who knows you well. In the areas you lack, it’s a good idea to take a course or study relevant material that will allow you to improve. While it’s better to excel in a few select skills rather than be average or above average at all of them, it’s also important not to forego competence in any.
By focusing on the 7 skills highlighted above, you’re drastically improving the chances of landing the job you’ve spent such a long time studying for.
Are there any other skills you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.