How to market your key skills in the current climate16th June 2020
It is fair to say no one could have predicted the way graduating students would be ending their university career in 2020. Students are now faced with another intimidating task: finding a job in an economic climate that, like many others, has been severely affected by the global coronavirus pandemic. So how can the class of 2020 navigate the job market in the age of the coronavirus, and market their key skills to prospective employers?
We’ve put together some of the key skills you should be highlighting and some tips on how you can demonstrate them.
Resilience is about being able to recover from setbacks and problems and with most of the world being placed on lockdown, demonstrating resilience will be a common question. A typical example being ‘How did you use your time in lock down in a positive way? Potential employers will want to see that you spent your time in a productive way, such as reading, researching into a particular field or completing online training courses to further your knowledge and/or skills.
Interviewers are looking for qualities that make you successful in a job. For many employers, adaptability is the most important soft skill they look for in candidates. It’s important for companies to have people in their workforce that are able to adapt to changing work environments and certainly those due to the pandemic.
Interview questions about adaptability might be tricky because it can be challenging to demonstrate such skills. For example, it is possible your role may begin remotely and change to an on-site. A good way to demonstrate adaptability is by using your university studies, you can talk about how you coped when your studies were moved online during the pandemic. If you have been working during this time you could also relay how your job changed and how you managed.
This will be of importance if you are going to begin a role where you will be working remotely or from home. It’s important for you to demonstrate to employers you can motivate yourself and can complete the tasks assigned to your role without always being told what to do. As a University graduate you can talk about any extra activities which you’ve completed to enhance your studies such as extra courses, contacting alumni for research purposes or any other time you have taken a positive action to solve an issue whilst not being instructed to do so. Examples do not have to just relate to University and can be found in part time work, placements, volunteering and your personal life.
During the pandemic much of the workforce has had to work from home and rely on digital communications to keep in touch with colleagues. Communication is not just about talking, it’s about listening too. You can demonstrate good communication skills by practising for interviews, ask a friend or family member to interview you or practise in the mirror. Examples of great communication skills can be found in part time work, placements and university, there may have been times you’ve had to talk in front of a group of people, present an idea or share your knowledge.
Organisation is always in the top list of key skills for employers but you may be asked how to demonstrate this in slightly more detail due to the pandemic. Organisations want to see you can be productive with your time, particularly if you are working from home. Employers want to see you can prioritise, be efficient and keep on top of your workload without someone prompting you. Throughout your studies you will have managed your coursework and this can be used as a good example, but don’t stop there, discuss how you’ve managed this workload, did you use spreadsheets to manage your time? To do lists? How often would you update these? Did you have other commitments whilst completing this work? If so how did you manage all of these commitments at once? Answering these questions will help demonstrate you are a well organised individual, with the ability to prioritise and complete your work in a timely manner.
These are just some of the key skills which we feel are more of a priority for employers now and in the future. Remember to try to demonstrate your skills using varied examples. To help graduates navigate their job search in the current climate we have several advice articles available to read in the news and advice section of our website.
If you’d like to apply for one of our roles or need some extra support please get in touch with one of our consultants who are happy to help.