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Graduate Career Advice : The Transferable Skills Employers Look For
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One of the most important aspects of job hunting for all job-seekers is to demonstrate that you understand and have the transferable skills employers look for. They’re especially important for new graduates (unless you studied as a mature student) as you generally have a limited work record. Therefore employers look to appoint people with potential rather than current knowledge. That’s not to say if you’re applying for a job that requires specific technical or scientific skills that the employers aren’t interested in those. They are. However, if you want to be the successful candidate, what will differentiate you from everyone else, is an ability to demonstrate that you’re motivated, possess the right interpersonal skills and have the transferable skills employers look for, which will make you an asset to the organisation.

As well as being able to demonstrate that you have transferable skills and motivation employers also want to know that you will fit into the organisation and share their vision and ethos. This is why it’s so important that you do your research. There is no point applying to an organisation if you don't share their values. You also need to research some information about their competitors so you're able to show some commercial and business awareness.

So what are the transferable skills employers look for?

Communication skills: You need to demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively in an appropriate manner for your intended audience. This includes orally (interview), non-verbal eg body language (interview), in writing (application form) and electronic means such as email.

Teamwork: Although you want to shine as an individual, at an interview employers want to know that you’re happy to be a team member and are interested in contributing to team success rather than seeking glory for yourself. The will be looking for evidence of how you interact with other team members and how you have overcome any difficulties.

Interpersonal skills: Employers will want to know that you can establish good working relationships with people both in and outside of the organisation. Think about the different relationships that you have had. Don’t ever say that you get on with everyone!

Leadership skills: What examples have you got where you have been the leader? You may have led a sports team, been the project leader, been in charge in a work environment. Employers are looking to know what strategies you use to motivate and encourage people.

Problem solving skills: Employers want to know that when faced with a problem you have the ability to analyse the problem and identify the key issues and then make suggestions of how the problem can be solved in a logical way. Logical does not mean that you can’t be creative and think out of the box.

Flexibility and adaptability: Many working environments are fast changing, and employers want to know how you will react to change and adapt to a variety of different situations. Think about a situation in your life when you have experienced change and what you learnt.

Resourcefulness and initiative: Employers are looking to find out to what extent your are able to act independently and how much initiative you’re able to use. They want to discover whether you’re the type of person who can spot an opportunity and persuade other people to take it on board. They also want to know about your ability to set and achieve your goals.

Commitment and motivation: Are you someone who is able to stay the course and remain motivated and committed? Employers don’t mind employees who are focussed and ambition, but they don’t want people who are always looking at the next big opportunity for themselves. Self-awareness. You need to be able to talk confidently about the strengths and skills that you possess. You also need to be aware of how to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Never give the impression that you don’t have any weakness.

Numeracy Skills: Even if numeracy has never been one of your interests when studying, they want to employ people who have a knowledge of understanding and analysing numerical data. IT Skills: For most graduates these days it is not an issue, but you do need to ensure that you have a basic understanding of IT and are not daunted at the thought of dealing with any new technology,

Applying for jobs and attending interviews is always hard work, often challenging, but wholly satisfying when you are appointed to a job that you want. Understanding the transferable skills that employers look for is all part of the preparation you need to do in order to succeed. As you progress through your working life you will also gain an awareness of more detailed transferable skills that employers routinely look for and be able to build a successful career

I hope you found this list useful.


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