When applying for a graduate position it’s important to be able to highlight the key skills you have that employers seek.
Hidden talents and skills, especially soft skills, can be difficult to judge during the application and an employer can only go off what you show and tell them.
Distinguishing yourself from the competition is easy if you know how. Here are 4 steps to help you along the way.
Identify your core values
Take time to identify your core values. Your core values are what you believe are important in the way you live and work. Understanding what is important to you in life will underpin good career choices and steer you towards organisations with similar values to you. During the selection process many companies will assess if your values align with theirs. So it’s good to know them before you start your application. Here are some questions to identify your core values:
What do I place value on? (eg helping others, becoming an expert, influencing others, experience adventure or the opportunity to express creativity
Your passion: what topic can you talk about endlessly?
When are you happiest?
If you won the lotto and didn’t need to work – what would you spend your time doing?
What part of your work or uni do you enjoy the most?
What’s important to you in a work environment? (eg flexibility, a diverse work team, fast-paced environment, job security, travel, monetary rewards, autonomy etc)
Identify your key skills – 3 lists
The next step is to identify your transferable skills (skills you have acquired that can be used in the workplace). You can do this by making 3 lists. The first list is going through your past jobs, activities (including volunteer work, hobbies, uni clubs) and university work. The second list is writing down the tasks involved with each of those roles. And the third list is the skills you developed from those tasks. Some of these skills may include; leadership, digital literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication skills or social capital skills – such as influencing skills and the ability to build a network. Soft skills are equally as important as hard skills. While employers will want graduates to have the technical knowledge related to their job – many of those can be taught. What is very important is good teamwork, decision making and communication skills.
Delve and differentiate
From your core values and key skills, decide what sets you apart and makes you a valuable employee. Now is the time to delve into your most relevant experience and show how you’ve used those skills or displayed those values. Recruiters consider a variety of factors in the selection process from work, leadership and team experience, extracurricular activities, academic results, passion, enthusiasm, and motivation. Recruiters like to see that you have “done it before”. It’s important to use as specific examples as possible – figures, names, dates and results to substantiate what you’re saying.
Don’t forget to focus on your potential
Employers are just as interested in your future as they are in your past. They want to see the key qualities of your potential such as your learning ability, your passion, drive and ambition and your people skills. For example, to demonstrate your learning ability you could highlight a problem you have solved quickly, or a niche skill you acquired. Demonstrating your drive and ambition is also an opportunity to show how your career goals align with the company’s overall goals – and how your skills would be of benefit to the organisation.
At Accenture, we have a variety of selection methods to ensure you’re highlighting multiple strengths such as game based cognitive & behavioral assessment, written response to questions, group activities and closing interviews. Here at Accenture, we are recognising each candidate is a person, and not just a number. We want you to stand out, for being you!