If you’re in your ‘middle years’ at University, you’ll probably be starting to think ahead about how to kick off your career once you graduate. How quickly you’ll rise through the ranks of your chosen profession is down to lots of factors, but getting your foot into any door can be a difficult thing – let alone the ‘right’ door.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, but expanding your skill set beyond being an expert in whatever subject it is you are studying can make you the ideal candidate… but what are the value added skills potential employers are looking for?
Well, here are the ones we look for in potential ABC employees. Now we might only be a humble self storage provider – but if you know us you’ll know we take a lot of pride in the people who work for us, so they can take a lot of care over the customers that store with us.
You’ve heard the term transferable skills right? They’re pretty much the all useful, helpful and marketable skills you don’t get taught at School, College or Uni. Whist some say you’ve either got them or you haven’t – that you’re born with them. But that’s not really true. There are all manner of ways you can improve your transferrable skills.
Communication is everything.
You’ll hear virtually every employer of any size, in any sector, say that communication skills are essential. At the basic level that means literacy. At a more personal level it means being courteous and respectful of everyone you deal with, but there’s one aspect of communication that puts most workers above others, and that’s the ability to listen. Hearing what customers and colleagues are saying – and showing them you heard – is definitely a transferable skill that makes a difference to careers.
If you are simply being yourself, then you can’t come undone. Playing any kind of game, pretending you are someone you are not, or bluffing that you have skills you don’t possess, is almost certain to end up in you getting found out. If that happens your credibility will be damaged and people will be left wondering what’s true and what’s not.
Say what you think, but say it nicely.
Saying what you think goes hand-in-hand with that being genuine and can earn you respect, so, if you disagree with something don’t just go along with what everyone else thinks. Often it’s the people who dare to question that get noticed. But that questioning needs to be done tactfully and nicely – it’s really important that you’re able to state your view on something in a nice friendly non-confrontational manner. Anything else – like just being belligerent for the sake of it – will just rub people up the wrong way. So we’re not suggesting for one second that you purposefully challenge to get yourself noticed, there has to be a point to it to your argument.
Creativity and Solutions.
If you’re going to question and challenge, you need to suggest solutions to any of the challenges you level. Unless you’re the boss – it’s not enough to shoot something down – there is no one more frustrating in the workplace than a colleague who says ‘that won’t work because’ or ‘I don’t like that’ without proposing a better solution. Lateral thinking, good ideas and creative workable problem solving is what sets high-flyers apart from the rest.
Credit where Credit is Due
Taking the credit for something that was not your work or idea is a big-no-no. But on the flip side of that, offering praise and credit when a colleague has come up with something brilliant can endear you to your workmates. Get it spot on and you’ll be able to do it in a way that shows you’re a good team player who is contributing to success.
Be reliable, get your work done.
Another thing that irks most employers is unreliability. Being regularly late (we’re not talking 10 minutes late in after major transport disruptions here) will earn you a reputation that will quickly stunt your progress. Being punctual and putting in a full days work might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t manage it.
During that full days work you need to make sure you get the job done. Whilst you might think it is impressive to work-late and be the last one out in the evening, it isn’t if you’re simply getting the stuff done that you should have been doing anyway. It’s fine to push the boat out for a big project, but you need a life too.
Empathy is a strength.
Empathising with people – being able to see other’s point of view – is a real strength. Some business folk see it as a weakness, but it will give you huge insight into how your customers and colleagues are feeling. That level of understanding can be the difference between making a business good and making it great.
Whatever profession you’re heading into, good luck, be brilliant and you’ll rise through the ranks in no time. And if you’re interested in a career with us – check out our recruitment page.