What skills do employers look for when they are recruiting college graduates? Can you work well on a team, communicate your ideas, make decisions by yourself and solve problems? Then you are an excellent candidate for employment. The good news is regardless of what you studied at third level, you will have acquired all top five skills required by employers.
Though academic ability is important to hiring managers, the ability to communicate, work collaboratively, think critically and act responsibly are rated more important by the majority of employers.
Soft skills are interpersonal or people skills. They are the personal attributes and personality traits needed for success in a role. These include communication, critical thinking, conflict resolution, teamwork and motivation to name a few.
Hard Skills, on the contrary, are specific abilities which enable an employee to carry out their job. These are teachable, meaning they are acquired through training and practice. These quantifiable skills include computer programming, web design, digital communications, accounting, writing or legal.
Then, there are transferable skills. These skills transcend career fields and include mainly soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.
Here are the top 5 skills employers are looking for in college graduates:
1. Communication Skills
Strong communications skills are desirable to all employers. Communication skills encompass written, verbal and non-verbal skills. The first step to demonstrating your communication skills is the application process. This is an opportunity to show you can produce clear, succinct and comprehensive information in your CV, cover letter and application form. You can do this by paying close attention to the job description, match your skills to those required and show off your writing skills.
Employers seek graduates who have the ability to work as a team player in a dynamic and competitive workplace. Team players can motivate and empower each other as well as work together to achieve an end goal. A good way to demonstrate your teamwork skills is by talking about a group project you undertook at college. Focus on how your team successfully achieved the results, highlighting your contribution and how you overcame any conflict during the process.
3. Work ethic
Graduates who can demonstrate a strong work ethic and professionalism are highly desired by employers. Graduates should draw from experiences where they showed discipline and determination when applying and interviewing for a role. Draw from experiences when you effectively managing a workload, acted responsibly or learned from the mistakes of a past project. Employers are looking for candidates who can show integrity and will act in an honest and ethical manner.
4. Critical thinking skills
Employers seek graduate hires who can analyse issues, make decisions and solve problems. Graduates will have used critical thinking skills throughout their study and should draw from work on projects, assignments and exams to demonstrate these skills. At interview discuss how you approached a research project, gathered and analysed data and produced an original and innovative solution.
5. Technology Skills
It is a certainty that you will be required to work with technology in today’s modern workplace. Therefore employers expect candidates to have the basic skills necessary to work with a range of platforms, applications and software. Gaining experience through internships and work placements in your chosen field is an excellent way to demonstrate your experience and knowledge.