When we think about “skills” for work, the in-demand skills we include on our CV such as degrees, diplomas, coding and data analysis often pop to mind.
However, these type of hard skills on their own are a poor indicator of whether a graduate will be a good fit and successful in an organisation.
Employers are increasingly looking for candidates that have strong people (or interpersonal) skills that go beyond conventional business, engineering or technical training.
According to The Bloomberg Job Skills Report 2016, the skills that were most wanted by employers but hardest to find were: communication skills, strategic thinking and leadership skills. People skills are incredibly valuable no matter what your job entails.
So, the good news is, even if you’re not a coding genius, here are some of the core interpersonal skills that you can work on to complement your academic skills and enhance your job performance.
According to a recent report on the skills gap of millennials entering the workforce, communication skills such as writing proficiency are most lacking among recent college graduates. The report by Future Workplace and Payscale stated that graduates need strong communication skills if they want to interview well and succeed in the workplace because effective writing, speaking, and communication enables them to interact well with team mates to accomplish business goals and get ahead. Because very few working days will be complete without writing an email or communicating in some way, developing these skills before you enter the workforce will make you more employable.
Curiosity and critical thinking
At companies like Accenture, one of the most desired traits in employees is intellectual curiosity and a desire to challenge the status quo. In a fast moving digital environment, people who have a deep hunger to learn and grow and a willingness to experiment are highly valued when tackling some of businesses’ greatest challenges.
Awareness of other people and cultures:
The ability to work across organisational and global cultures is becoming an imperative for high performing employees in today’s globalised world. Great employers know that a diverse workforce is a more successful workforce and strive to build teams from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Therefore, graduates who can demonstrate the ability and desire to work effectively in a culturally diverse environment as well as show an awareness of the importance of diversity will have a head start on graduates who show no desire or proven ability to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Teamwork and face-to-face communication
The ability to “work in teams” is a term that’s been bandied about for years among employers and job seekers alike. But now more than ever is this a crucial workplace skill. Graduates today spend most of their time communicating via screens and social media – so millennials with strong face-to-face communications skills, the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues in person and who can show confidence in public speaking and presenting will have a great advantage in the workplace. The great news is, these skills can be learned and developed and great employers will help their employees develop these crucial skills for the workplace.
Ownership and self-motivation
People who have the ability to plan, organise and prioritise work are valued among employers. This includes being able to develop effective strategies for managing your time to balance the huge demands of work, study, leisure, extracurricular activities and other interests. Furthermore, graduates who can take ownership and can own up to mistakes are highly regarded in organisations. Being able to demonstrate how you confronted a problem or took responsibility for a project or a crisis will give employers confidence that you can take this skill into the workplace.
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