With so much at stake when if comes to looking for a job, especially your first real job you really need to show off your soft skills to employers, both on your CV and at interviews. As everyone has the grades nowadays, experience and personality are more and more important, and employers want to see this. Here are 6 skills you'll need to show off to employers to bag that dream job. Some of them will be inherent in your personality, and some you’ll have to work hard at to develop:
As everyone has a degree nowadays, a qualification on a piece of paper unfortunately doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. This means that alongside your certificate, you have to show that you’ve a passion and interest in a subject or the career you are looking to enter. You can show this to employers by talking about the exhibitions you’ve been to, the books you’ve read or the courses you’ve explored in your own time, the blogs you've written for and any work experience you've done.
Most entry-level jobs involve working on lots of different projects and with lots of different people so it’s important that you can be agile. You’ll also need to be flexible in your thinking, so if one plan for a project doesn’t pan out in the way that you’d hoped you can implement back-up plans and not be overcome with worry and anxiety. You'll also need to display your grit and perseverance when things go wrong.
You can show this to employers by talking about your ability to juggle a number of subjects or tasks at university, such as your degree alongside part-time employment. As flexibility involves coping with change, perhaps you can talk about when something went wrong when, for example, you were planning an event at university or when you visited another country only to find your hotel had double-booked your room.
Unfortunately, by the time you’ve left college or university, it’s unlikely that you will have much to say about the ownership of your work, and having to take responsibility for a project. If you have done this, for example, during an internship, this is great, however it is unlikely! Instead, you might focus on how you took your dissertation into your own hands, how you planned for it, replanned for it along the way, and what happened if and when you fell behind. You might also have a hobby, such as a blog, that you can talk about along with its development.
Employers like to see that you've taken the bull by the horns when it comes to your career so far and that they can trust you to get on with the job at hand. To show this, you might explain how, when working with a group of students, none of whom were pulling their weight, you had taken on the role of project manager so the task was done on time. You might also talk about how you researched for this job – perhaps you looked up influential people in the industry on LinkedIn and got in contact with them to help understand what is needed for the role, and how they got to where they are now.
This millennial generation, particularly the more modern snowflake generation, have been told that they can do anything and be anything they want. This much is true, but it also includes hard work. When I was at university there were plenty of people who said that they didn’t think they deserved earning anything less than a starting salary of £40,000 - and I’m sure they are not even earning that now, eight years after graduation! - but you have to show employers why you deserve this, and in most cases start from scratch.
As a graduate, because you are paying £9,000 a year for a degree it does feel as though you should have accomplished something, but what you've accomplished will actually be down to you.
Showing some humility and working your way up from assistant positions and typical university jobs and boring tasks, such as filling in employees expense forms, can show that you are willing to work hard to get to where you want to be. You’ll also learn about the intricacies of the business along the way and this experience can be put to good use when you move up the career ladder.
Staying on track is something that can’t be taken for granted nowadays. I’m a sucker for it; there’s no way I can sit and watch a programme, Who Do You Think You Are or First Dates Hotels without checking my Twitter feed. For some jobs, especially social media, it’s likely that you’ll have to flip between lots of different little tasks, but for most jobs the ability to sit and concentrate for a few hours at a time is important. You can achieve a lot in a few hours.
Attention to detail is also important, and you can show this to employers by telling them about your high marks in essays or exams, with the very laborious spell checking being something you can talk about with potential employers.