You’re a graduate – what do you have to offer?
Yes you may have got a 2:1 in your degree, but what else do you have to offer an employer? Yes you may have a little work experience, maybe you have worked in Sainsburys on the till, or in a Care Home assisting residents, but what else has University and life taught you which could be considered transferable skills that future employers may be looking for.
Here are some of the skills that employers really value when looking to employ recent graduates. So, if you are a graduate on the hunt for a job, read on to discover what these skills are and how to show them on your CV.
Ability to work in a team
Unlike being a student where the success or failure of your education is largely dependant on yourself, the workplace depends on teams of people to get jobs done. A prospective employer will want to know if you can work well with lots of different personalities. If you have played in a sports team, taken part in drama or dance clubs or even had a role in your University Society, now is the time to demonstrate that you know how to successfully work with a mixed bag of people by putting this on your CV.
Attention to detail
Getting the basics right goes a long way in ensuring employers don’t immediately reject you. Most employers will have a huge stack of CVs to go through so yours needs to be right. Simple things such as making sure your CV and cover letter does not have any typing mistakes and are grammatically correct is a great place to start. The last thing you want to do is spend ages on a job application only to be rejected because you have made a basic spelling error.
Believe it or not there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you enter the workforce. If you held a leadership role in University, e.g. as President of one of the Clubs or Captain of the netball team, highlight this on your CV. If you emerged as the informal leader of a group project also make sure this is on your CV. It is also a good idea to get letters of recommendation from any part time employment you’ve had or from Lecturers at your University that speak about your leadership skills.
Strong work ethic
You need to be committed to your job responsibilities and understand that doing your job is more than just turning up to work every day. Demonstrating on your CV that you combined studying with a part time job immediately tells an employer you are a hard worker. Doing well in your studies both at University and at School also demonstrates a good work ethic, so remember to put grades against all qualifications you have from GCSE’s, through to A Levels and on to the result of your degree. Everything helps.
The best way to demonstrate good communication skills is an interview situation where you will be talking face to face with a prospective employer, but you have got to get the interview first. The best way of demonstrating your ability to communicate non verbally is on your CV and the covering letter which you send with any applications you make so ensure the grammar used is correct, the spelling is impeccable and your cover letter reveals a little bit of your personality, that way you can easily demonstrate this skill.
Commitment and reliability
It is important for any employee to demonstrate commitment and reliability and as a graduate you can easily do this too. Your commitment to your education should be obvious if you got a good result for your degree, or if you helped fund your education by working part time whilst studying. Your reliability can also be proved by the number of lectures you attended or the fact that your attendance was 100% when you were at School. Another way of showing commitment is if you have done voluntary work this demonstrates you are a person of integrity and willing to work for nothing if you believe it to be a worthy cause.
All employers want an honest employee so don’t be afraid of admitting any failure’s you have experienced. For instance you flunked your A Levels and had to retake them, be honest, there is no shame in saying that at eighteen you didn’t appreciate the importance of revising but you quickly caught on when you didn’t get the grades you needed to get into University and had to do an extra year in College to do the retakes. If you got a poor grade for your degree it’s also best to be honest about it from the onset. Explain why this was, perhaps you didn’t take the course seriously but that doesn’t mean you won’t be an excellent employee. Just be honest about it.
So there you go, you have a great deal to offer any future employer you just may not be aware of it. Sell yourself on your CV – don’t miss out on any skills you may have which are going to be valuable in the workplace.
Happy Job Search.