Every year we hear familiar stories about how fresh graduates have to compete even harder for jobs than their predecessors. With this is mind, it's important to develop the key skills which all employers are looking for. Here are five essential skills to help you stand out.
1. Common Sense
Perhaps the stepping stone to success in any scenario, it's often lacking when needed most.
From the smallest, simplest task, right up to the more complex projects you may find yourself working on, this is an absolute essential. It shows you can be trusted, it demonstrates you can keep a clear head under pressure and more importantly, make crucial decisions at the right time.
In short, it's evidence of the right aptitude for whatever role you are gunning for.
2. Communication Skills
It may seem obvious but there's no value in having a great deal to say yet be unable to communicate it clearly.
Given the fast paced nature of most jobs now, the need for crystal clear communication – both written and verbal – is greater than ever. It will enhance your ability to present, to lead and to understand the needs of clients and colleagues alike.
3. Commercial Awareness
Often the most neglected of skills, perhaps due to the lack of understanding about what it entails, but it really isn’t the enigma it appears.
It’s simply understanding the context of the business you’re in and how outside factors could affect it. As with anything we do, the more we understand it, the better we are. In business it’s no different.
Understand the needs of the business you’d like to work for and it will help you immensely. Sign up for our weekly Commercial Awareness updates to stay up to date with the biggest stories in the news.
4. Computer Skills
Once regarded as the realm of programmers only, the importance of basic computer skills cannot be overlooked.
To be clear, you’re not expected to know how to programme fluently for every job. However, the ability to use Google Docs coupled with a good understanding of Excel, Powerpoint and external programmes such as Salesforce will be invaluable.
On top of that, it’s important to understand whatever internal programmes and processes your future employer may use on a daily basis. The days of computer illiteracy are truly over.
An absolutely essential skill but it's possibly the hardest criteria to fulfil. Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses allows you to maximise your potential and improve your skills.
It can ensure your organisation and time management is consistent and it directly affects your ability to work as part of a team. It's also an intrinsic part of self-motivation and your ability to take the initiative in projects.
In short, your ability to understand yourself is the gateway to others understanding you, it defines the way in which you interact and handle others and it can be the greatest asset or greatest obstacle to your success.
Take your time; it’s not an easy process. However, the more in tune you are with yourself, the better off you will be.