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Posted May 12, 2016 by

10 soft skills employers expect of recent graduates

Background concept wordcloud illustration of soft skills glowing light courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock.com

Are you ready to find your dream job as soon as you graduate? Then, it’s high time to draw a detailed plan with soft skills required for the workplace. This will help you stand out from other candidates and be a perfect fit for the position of your choice.

To successfully accomplish the task, college graduates can analyze requirements for current vacancy announcements, make use of LinkedIn or Branded.me profiles of people with a great experience, and study analytical articles on the labor market to always stay updated.

It’s not a secret, though, that plenty of online sources post about top soft skills potential employers want in their candidates’ CVs or resumes. So, why not focus on them to make your preparation for obtaining a good entry-level job a bit easier? Here’s what is highly demanded by most of the recruiters:

1 – Lifelong learners

Recent grads can hardly boast of knowing everything about the work they will perform daily. It’s quite natural when something is learned along the way. Sometimes employers prefer young, enthusiastic graduates over highly experienced professionals, since the former tend to learn and absorb new information more eagerly and are ready to develop a learning habit. The latter instead are quite often more stubborn and unlikely to reach a compromise, which can hinder team effectiveness. Additionally, lifelong learners are supposed to know how to obtain and process information to solve the problems they haven’t faced before.

2 – Team players

Teamwork is not only about collective responsibility for every team player’s actions. It’s also about communicating your message to others and achieving that goal with the help of knowledge and each employee’s efforts. Effective team performance depends much on the correct management and delegation of tasks. In contrast to past expectations for team players, modern employers are looking for those who will be proactive and suggest creative solutions. Initiative is strongly encouraged.

3 – Effective time managers and schedulers

Chaos brings no positive effect. To show high productivity and performance, it’s crucial to hone time management and prioritization skills. These two skills rank high on most employers’ lists of soft skills. For that, managers and schedulers need to negotiate deadlines and schedule tasks appropriately. Should tasks be equally urgent, they’d better discuss which one to take first together with their reporters. When using electronic or paper planners, think of short breaks that need to be made between tasks, divide time-consuming tasks into several subtasks, and leave about 10 or 15% of time for coping with emergencies and contingencies. Set reminders well in advance, and review to-do lists daily.

4 – Good listeners and masters of convincing people

Being a good listener doesn’t mean you should keep silent while somebody else is expressing his or her thoughts, so that you can further move on to your statements. The point is to really listen and hear other team players and choose the best solutions working together. Another important thing is to know how to make everyone understand what you mean. In other words, you should learn to use simple and concise statements, speaking with confidence to all people in the company regardless of their seniority.

Problem solver words on business cards courtesy of Shutterstock.com

iQoncept/Shutterstock.com

5 – Problem solvers

At the top of most top list of soft skills is “problem solving skills.” The first step to successful problem solving is to clearly understand what the problem is and what caused it. The next step is to carefully consider interests of others and list all suitable solutions. The final step is to evaluate suggested options by listing their advantages and disadvantages, and then choose the one that has the most pluses. To be an efficient problem solver, you need to get rid of fear. By focusing more on tackling the problem, you will be able to do it with ease.

6 – Company fan

Being a company fan means to be knowledgeable about your employer’s industry. Understanding what key benefits the company gives to its customers or clients, how the process of decision-making is organized, what main competitors the company has, etc. are among the things job seekers should learn before a job interview.

7 – Data analyzer

If you work with people with analytical mindsets, you are a lucky person. This allows you to quickly gather, assess, and analyze new information, selecting only the things you will need at work. This soft skill is highly required for making future plans or prognoses, and creating recommendations for others to follow. This skill is also helpful when you need to analyze your successes or failures, which is very important for your progress.

8 – Tech-savvy person

This means not only knowing how to create, delete, or remove presentations or surf the Internet proficiently. Being tech-savvy means knowing what tools and programs are used by the specialist you want to become. For example, if you want to become a web designer, you will need to master such programs as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Indesign.

9 – Critical thinker

If you have a chance to join a series of workshops on how to become a good critical thinker, jump at the chance! These practical lessons will teach you how to criticize somebody else wisely by finding a strong argument and how to accept criticism of your work. Being a critical thinker is essential for improving your communication skills and professional growth too. Critical thinking ranks high on the list of soft skills regardless of your job title or position.

10 – Curious mind

Being curious means to never be afraid of asking questions. Though, it doesn’t mean you should behave like a chattering box, annoying other employees with your never-ending questions. You should ask questions when you don’t know the answers so your work won’t be done slowly. You must use proper discernment to ask questions of the right person (your manager or mentors) at the right time (one on one and in quiet settings, and preferably not during the last five minutes of meetings).

A few final tips

Taking an active part in extra-curricular activities and voluntary projects can also help job seekers develop a set of useful skills for their future jobs. By establishing friendly relationships with people, you increase your chances of getting what you need. Who knows, maybe some of your peers or instructors will recommend you as a highly promising hire one day.

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Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin is a student of Rockhurst University and enthusiastic freelance writer who enthuses about rock music, writing, and classic English literature. Feel free to contact her at Twitter or Google+.

Posted October 24, 2015 by

7 job hunting tips for recent graduates

mini graduation cap on a job application form

Mini graduation cap on a job application form. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Have you recently graduated? Your first instinct was to have loads of fun, reconnect with your old friends, and visit a place you always wanted to see. That’s great; every graduate should get some time off to destress before diving into the real world. Sooner or later, you’ll have to get serious about job hunting. The sooner you put yourself out there, the more chances you’ll be able to grab.

The world is tough. You’ll face many challenges and you won’t find the perfect position as soon as you start applying for jobs. Your hopes for an interview might remain unanswered at first. Does that mean you should give up and wait for an opportunity to hit you? Of course not! It means you need to change your strategy. (more…)

Posted July 29, 2015 by

5 Life-Saving Tips for New College Students

student closing her ears and screaming at school

Student closing her ears and screaming at school. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

With advice coming from teachers, parents, counselors, and friends, it can be impossible to make sense of all the new information for college freshmen. Many new students are often overwhelmed and find that their first semester was not indicative of their past scholarly ventures. In order to hit the ground running you will need to prepare appropriately. Here are five simple ways to thrive in college: (more…)

Posted May 01, 2015 by

5 Ways to Make Attending a University More Enjoyable

Happy casual dressed young college student isolated on white background

Happy casual dressed young college student isolated on white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Attending a university can be a very enriching experience but too many students are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted constantly. Luckily, universities are addressing this issue head-on with a plethora of activities and opportunities that help students enjoy their time more. There are more opportunities than just going to class; here are a few ways that you can get the most out of your time as a university student. (more…)

Posted March 05, 2015 by

How to Make Your CV Stand Out in 5 Easy Steps

Young smiling cheerful woman holding her resume

Young smiling cheerful woman holding her resume. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Think about it; recruiters and hiring managers must see hundreds of CVs each and every month. So how do you ensure your humble sheet or two of A4 finds its way into the right hands the next time you send or email it to a prospective boss?

The fact is, there’s no hard and fast answer; it’s true that different recruiters with different managerial styles are bound to like…well…different things. But there are still some steps you can take to ensure you’ve got the best shot possible at being called in for an interview.

Remember these and we bet you won’t go far wrong. Here goes… (more…)

Posted November 24, 2014 by

Facing the employer’s expectations when applying for a job

Boris Dzhingarov 2

Boris Dzhingarov

We live in a world where students don’t have an exact perspective on the working industry and how they are supposed to manage in this new part of their lives that is about to come. Some young adults still think that grades are enough to get a great job and start your professional careers, but the reality is that you need much more to actually get started, from practical experiences to extra-curricular activities and even hobbies. (more…)

Posted September 17, 2014 by

Career Planning: 5 Pointers to Prepare You for the Tough Job Market

Human hand writing career planning on whiteboard

Human hand writing career planning on whiteboard. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The job market is more competitive than ever, so how can you prepare yourself better and increase your chances of getting a job after you leave a university? Here are a few ideas to consider.

1. Get the Best Grades You Can

A top grade could really make the difference when you apply for a job, especially in the most competitive markets. For the biggest graduate recruiters, a 2:1 is often the absolute minimum, but many are now looking at applicants with first-class degrees only because this is a simple way for them to filter out applications. (more…)

Posted September 10, 2014 by

Do Employers Care if You’ve Had a “Real” Job? Tips for Making the Most of Non-Traditional Work Experience

Student getting work experience; printing

Student getting work experience; printing. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

You see it in almost every job listing: “Experience required.” Those two little words can be a big problem for college students and recent graduates, many of whom have little to no employment history or professional experience.

It’s a catch-22 for many students and recent grads just entering the job market. After all, how can you start getting job experience, if employers won’t hire you until you have experience? It’s a paradox that adds even more stress to an already hectic time in your life.

But the issue of experience is something that can be solved – or at least worked around. The next time you see an opening for what sounds like your dream job, don’t give up when you see “Experience required.”  Even if you haven’t worked in a traditional setting or gained relevant experience in the field, you probably have some kind of knowledge or skills you can apply to the position. (more…)

Posted September 03, 2014 by

Four Signs that a Student is Overcommitted to Extracurricular Activities

Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey, Managing Editor of Peterson’s & EssayEdge

Participating in extracurricular activities is an integral part of the education process. By joining clubs and organizations, students gain the “soft skills” that are increasingly important to excelling in today’s workforce: leadership, teamwork, and negotiation skills. However, the commitment can be significant and sometimes it is too much. How can you tell if you, a friend or your child has overcommitted themselves to extracurricular activities? Look for these signs to avoid total burnout. (more…)

Posted July 31, 2014 by

Searching for Entry Level Jobs, Recent Grads? 10 Things You Might Have Done Differently While in College

When it comes to searching for entry level jobs, recent graduates might have thought about changing some things during their college years.  In the following post, learn 10 things they might have done differently.

While still in school, it can be easy to keep reality on the back-burner. Unfortunately, that often leads to a lack of preparation… and a tough job search after graduation. The reality is that college students everywhere are learning that you must be ready to compete for the job, aggressively, well before you walk across that stage, diploma in

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