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Applying for jobs: What skills do employers want?

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With so many graduates applying for each role, you must demonstrate that you've developed the key skills that employers are looking for

While the knowledge and skills required will vary according to the job, it's imperative to convey how you've already gained the core attributes that would make you a worthwhile addition to an organisation.

Good communication

How clearly you convey your ideas, plus your ability to listen to others, are of keen interest to employers. As well as building rapport, they'll also be looking at how well you persuade and negotiate with people too.

Use your CV to outline specific written and verbal examples of when you've put these skills into practice. Show how you tailored your message to the target audience.

Effective leadership and management

Even if you're not intending to work in a management position, you'll still need to demonstrate to employers that you've the potential to motivate and direct others in order to achieve common objectives.

For your CV, detail situations where you've had the opportunity to plan and coordinate tasks. The ability to solve problems and conflicts is always highly valued by recruiters.

Planning and research skills

To accomplish certain work tasks, you may need to come up with a suitable strategy and plan of action. This could involve seeking out relevant information from various sources. How you analyse, interpret and report these findings is what's important here.

Highlight the relevant skills that you've developed through your degree course.

Teamwork and interpersonal skills

Most graduates will have had the chance to work in teams during their time at university. Employers will be looking at your individual contribution towards achieving common goals.

Self-management

The specific activities of your job will always be viewed in the context of the business's goals and what it is trying to achieve. By successfully directing your work towards these objectives - prioritising your duties, working well under pressure and managing your time effectively - you can demonstrate that you're flexible, resilient and can be trusted.

Give examples of times when you've had to balance your university work in order to meet multiple deadlines.

Relevant work experience

This is becoming increasingly important in today's competitive work environment. However, students are having to be incredibly resourceful in gaining the type of experience that employers are after. In some sectors, such as media and the arts, it's necessary to network and make speculative job applications. Paid work is often restricted to large organisations.

For advice on how to make the most of the opportunities available to students and graduates see work experience and internships.

If you've limited or no relevant experience in the field that you're looking to work in, you might want to consider a CV that allows you to concentrate on the skills that you've acquired.

To find out how to write a skills-based CV take a look at our example CVs.

 

Further information

 
 
Written by Editor, Prospects
Date: 
June 2015
 

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