As you’ll probably be aware, record numbers of students are now attending university. Consequently, you need to find ways to separate yourself from the pack when you finally graduate and enter the world of work. Unless you’ve launched your own app or developed a new social media platform while at university, there are likely to be numerous other people with similar skills and qualifications entering the job market at the same time as you.
As a result, developing softer skills that can get you ahead in your career has never been more important, particularly at a time when reports suggest firms are favoring generalists over those with specific technical expertise. So with this in mind, what are the five professional skills that every graduate must possess?
1. Commercial acumen
It’s not enough just to know how to carry out your role anymore; you also need to understand your employer’s position in a specific market and how you could potentially carve out new opportunities for the firm. This means it’s crucial to not only have knowledge of social media, or finance, if that’s what your job entails, but also the wider goals of the organization and how you could contribute to meeting them. Anyone who can develop these skills and identify potential opportunities is likely to thrive.
As we’ve already touched on, the job market can be challenging for some graduates, and there’s a chance you could be part of one of the few generations in history to earn less than its predecessors. Whilst that probably doesn’t sound particularly appealing, it won’t be the case across the board and graduates who are determined and self-motivated are likely to continue to thrive and secure the best jobs. You’ll have to put up with the often sneering views of senior generations – if that isn’t motivation to succeed, I don’t know what is.
You may think of yourself as a pretty adept networker already. After all you’ve been able to develop a healthy following on various social media platforms. However, whilst that does help – if your accounts have been well managed – building up a professional network is very different. Far too many graduates leave university without being able to communicate on a business level with people of varying degrees of seniority. It may sound obvious, but it’s a professional skill that a surprising number of people simply don’t possess. Once you do manage to nurture your networking skills, take advantage of every opportunity – especially if your peers are still buried in their smartphones/tablets.
This may sound obvious and it may come naturally to those of you who’ve grown up playing team sports, but a surprisingly large number of graduates won’t be able to work effectively with others. Being able to work in a team is a vital professional skill to develop, as organizations look to utilize more fluid operational methods. Siloes between departments are being broken down and businesses are increasingly encouraging collaborative thinking amongst their employees. This means that those who can’t do this are likely to be left behind. A useful tip for working with others is to remember that you’ve got two ears and one mouth, so use them according to that ratio.
5. Global mind-set
The growth of commercial air travel and other forms of mass transportation, not to mention the internet and social media, has meant that the business world is now truly global. As a result, it’s important to possess an international outlook and not to think of commercial opportunities as being limited by borders.
It’s always been useful to be multilingual and it’s no longer just the obvious languages that are in demand. It’s well worth considering which ones are likely to be useful 10 years further down the line. For example, taking up Portuguese or Chinese a decade ago is likely to have paid off, because of the growth of the Brazilian and Chinese economies. Now, the latter is certainly still very relevant, and Arabic is another language that’s also grown in importance in recent years. The development of the Emirati economies along with the rise of nations like Oman mean that Arabic is definitely a language on the up. Possessing an A-Level or equivalent qualification is useful, but the real value comes if you have an understanding of business use too.
Source by topuniversities