The most important skills for graduating students

Lucy Mitchellon 31 March 2021
The most important skills for graduating students

Prepare yourself for the world of graduate employment with these top tips.

With graduation caps on and degrees in hand, final year students will have to brace themselves for life’s next big challenge: finding employment. Unlike the structured education of university, adulting in the real world can be chaotic.

With this in mind, here are seven important skills for graduating students that can give you a headstart in securing that job of your dreams:

1. Self-Motivation

Let’s face it: the main reason we search for jobs is to put food on the table. Recruiters are well aware of this, but what they’re keeping an eye out for is your ability to motivate yourself.

Self-motivation demonstrates that you’re willing to plough through any setbacks, embrace new opportunities, and show commitment to your goals. These traits are ideal for any potential employer since they indicate resilience, drive, and a “never give up” attitude.

2. Analytical minds

In today’s digital world, analytics allow you to measure strategic success while grounding it on observable data. It’s an invaluable tool that can be used in marketing strategies and inferential statistics to gain valuable insights. 

Whatever your chosen field, demonstrating an understanding of analytics shows that you are pragmatic and strategic in how you approach and solve problems. 

3. Communication Skills

No man is an island, and that motto holds in a workplace setting. Recruiters look for articulate, insightful, and able to themselves well both in public and in a team.

While oral communication is important, be sure to hone your written skills too. Writing up technical reports, proofreading, and using proper grammar and sentence structures are all things that recruiters will notice.

4. Empathy

“Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills,” says Herb Kelleher, one of the co-founders of Southwest Airlines. 

Empathy is a trait that all companies look out for when hiring. It’s a crucial skill to have, especially in a team setting, as empathetic employees will be considerate towards their coworkers. Empathetic people can manage stress and listen effectively, both of which are positive additions to any company’s culture.

5. Leadership

Owning responsibility for a team’s actions is a heavy ask, but someone needs to take charge. That’s what leaders do and the reason why they are so important.

The responsibilities of a leader include motivating others, taking the initiative, keeping the team focused on the right objectives, and fostering a healthy group environment. A leader is what makes or breaks a team.

If a recruiter sees you have good technical skills but lack foundational leadership skills, they may consider someone less-experienced but more vocal as a better investment. While changing your personality is a big ask, human resources courses can get you in the mind of a recruiter and prepare you for those tricky interviews.

6. Critical Thinking

No hiring manager would employ someone who can’t come up with solutions on their own. While entry-level hires are expected to undergo proper training, recruiters will observe how graduating students conduct themselves and whether they can make independent decisions.

Graduates need to demonstrate an ability to think laterally. A critically-thinking mind is synonymous with many positive attributes. This can include innovative and creative thinking, adaptability, open-mindedness, and overall analytical skills. 

7. Professionalism

Lastly, graduates should recognise that they’re entering a much larger workforce than their university bubble. Understanding proper work habits, such as punctuality, a collaborative mindset, and time management, is vital to succeeding in the workplace. While you may not have the technical expertise on the spot, showing off your soft skills can brand you as an asset to the right company.

With that said, it pays always to be prepared and never lose hope. Keep going - may the next job offer you receive be the one of your dreams!

How’s your graduate job hunt going? Join our panel and let us know; you’ll get a free £10 Amazon voucher when you sign up.

Lucy Mitchellon 31 March 2021