Obtaining a job straight out of varsity isn’t easy. In fact, simply being invited for an interview is hard enough. There are many, many graduates just like you entering the job market every year. And they all want their dream internship or job. Whatever industry you plan to enter, you’ll likely have a lot of competition. And that’s why you need to set yourself apart from the rest.

In the beginning it’s all about your CV, cover letter and behaviour in an interview. You don’t yet have the work experience to attract head hunters and recruiters just yet, so you can only count on your job application and what you say under pressure. That’s why it’s so important you have the following six skills when you apply for a job and showcase these in your application.

Communication skills

In many industries, you won’t get anywhere without good communication skills. You need to be able to clearly and concisely convey information. If you’re unable to pass on messages without any errors, mistakes are likely to occur and you will be held accountable. You should be able to let your boss or supervisor know exactly what you’ve been working on without leaving any doubt in their minds. It’s important you’re able to express yourself properly because miscommunication can cause a big problem, even when it comes from a junior employee.  

Presentation skills

You may not be asked to give presentations when you start in a junior position. But your manager may ask you to put together slides, prepare their speech or find the necessary information. You may not need these skills right now but you probably will if you climb the corporate ladder. And, most importantly, it looks good on your CV. Even skills you won’t need at first will impress potential employers because it shows you’re prepared for the future. They want to know you’ll be willing and able to handle anything they throw at you.

Listening skills

You need to be able to listen. This is incredibly important when you first start out in the working world. Your studies can only teach you so much and much of what you do in the future will have to be learned on the job. That means you have to be able to listen to every instruction carefully. That doesn’t mean you simply need to hear what is being said, it means you have to actually understand what you’re being told. Of course, it’s always okay to ask questions if you need more information. People expect that from junior employees. But nobody should have to waste their valuable time repeating themselves over and over again.

People skills

If you can talk to anyone about anything, you will most certainly get far in life. This is a skill that is often overlooked when you’re thinking about what you have to offer a company. But potential employers definitely look for this. Teamwork and company culture matter and if you’re going to sit in a corner all day and never talk to anyone, you may be overlooked. Of course, you’ll obviously be nervous when you go for an interview but remember that they’re looking to say whether you’ll fit in, so be as confident as you can be.

Report writing skills

Many junior positions include performing admin tasks. No matter what you’ve studied, you will be required to do the grunt work when you first start out in the working world. That’s why it’s important that you accumulate as many admin skills as you can. Having report writing skills on your CV will let any potential employer know that you’re open to taking on any task and supervisors definitely like this when hiring someone.

Excellent grammar and spelling

This cannot be stressed enough, spelling and grammar matter. Whatever job you’re looking for – whether it involves dealing with clients or programming – your spelling and grammar matters. Even if you don’t deal with anyone but your immediate superior, you’ll still need to communicate via email occasionally and if your spelling and grammar are bad, they aren’t going to be impressed. So, ensure you spell everything correctly on your application and your grammar on your CV is impeccable. Many employers throw out any applications with simple grammar or spelling errors, especially if it’s in your first language.   

Soon will be graduating alongside many other people just like you. And you’ll all be looking for jobs at the same time. Give yourself a competitive edge by acquiring the above skills. If you have to take an extra online course on the side then so be it. It’ll all work out in your favour at the end of the day.

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