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Skills and competencies for graduates
Graduate recruiters look for specific job skills and competencies. These are what they have judged you need to do the job and work in their organisation. They might seem straightforward in job descriptions: communication, teamwork and problem solving are just a few. However this is the most common area of confusion for students and graduates when writing a CV, job application or attending an interview. It's when you might find yourself asking: ‘what does commercial awareness really mean?’ and ‘how can I show my time management skills on a CV?’ This section will help you understand the different competencies graduate employers expect, provide tips on how to develop them, and give examples of how they are assessed and how to demonstrate your abilities.
Problem solving: the mark of an independent employee
Line managers don’t like hiring graduates who will come running every time they’re out of their depth. If you can take the pressure, make sense of your situation and step up with a solution, you’ll stand a better chance.
Time management: being ahead of the game
Knowing when and where to direct your efforts can be crucial for graduate hires. Self-management and the ability to work independently mean that you can look ahead and handle a heavy workload without losing control.
Enterprise skills: seizing opportunities and seeing them through
Using your initiative, being proactive, and getting things done without waiting for someone else to tell you to: that's enterprising. Graduates with strong enterprise skills can spot an opportunity and work its advantage.
Commercial awareness: it's how the industry fits together
The most eligible graduates know how the business world works. They are aware of trends in the sector, and understand how they will affect their would-be employer. This is the beginning of commercial awareness.
Communication: the skill that sustains information flow
The effective exchange of information is essential for a well-run business. Communication is more than what you say, though. For a graduate it's about about learning to listen, understand and deliver words and information that keep things moving.
Teamwork: it's high on the graduate recruiters' wishlist
Teamwork has been identified by business lobbying organisation the CBI as one of the fundamental skills that employers look for and it's on the graduate recruiters' high priority list. Show you can collaborate, influence and compromise.
Essential skills and competencies: be on top of the basics
To offer recruiters the best package possible, make sure you compliment the big skills with good basics, including: writing, reading, numeracy, presentation, organisation, stamina, confidence and the ability to work under pressure.
Emotional intelligence: what it takes to work with others
We all have our own individual ways of behaving and interacting. Somehow we all have to work together. This takes emotional intelligence. You can understand why graduate recruiters want it.
Creativity: graduate recruiters like fresh thinking
Innovation, imagination and intuition… creativity takes all three. A successful graduate career involves making both big breakthroughs and inspired evolutions.
Computer skills: how to meet graduate recruiters' expectations
Employers expect this generation’s graduates to have IT skills as a matter of course. You have to be willing to take on new technologies, especially when someone turns and says, ‘You’re young; how does this work?’
Team management: prove you're a bit more than an entry-level hire
Graduates are often hired as trainee managers and need influence and responsibility for others to make their team run well. This is about how you take the lead and get the best from people.
Customer care: the hard business skill with a soft edge
Every graduate employer knows that customer satisfaction is an investment in their business. Graduates need to give clients and customers the same care and attention they would give their boss.