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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Skills? What skills?

    Work experience can help you to develop a range of marketable and transferable skills that employers will always want. Here are just a few:
    • Customer awareness
    • Problem solving and creative thinking
    • Commercial and business awareness
    • Leadership
    • Teamwork
    • Influencing and negotiating
    • Networking
    • Information communication and technology skills
    • Numeracy
    • Verbal and written communication
    • Time management
    These skills do not reflect area of academic study, they are completely transferable and relevant across all sectors of the working world. Combine these practical/common sense skills with an academic degree and you become the desired employee!

    Skills are developed through different types of work experience as well as through extracurricular activities. A substantial placement or internship will give you real depth of experience in a particular area but short periods of quality experience are also a great chance to learn new skills. Don't underestimate the value of your part time job. It may seem just a means to support yourself during your studies but you will be developing important skills such as time management and financial management, customer service and teamwork. But it’s boring? Fine – at least you have a very clear idea of the kind of job you don’t want to do for the rest of your life!

    Employers today want new employees who can start to contribute to their organisation from the day they join. (‘Hit the ground running’ – awful phrase!) They want 'work ready' employees who can take responsibility and use their existing skills to make a difference to their businesses.

    Why employers value work experience

    Could you contribute to an organisation from the day you join? Make sure the skills you have developed through doing one-off jobs and projects are clear to any prospective employer so they have confidence in you from the start. Employers want 'work ready' employees who can take responsibility and use their existing skills to make a difference to their businesses. It’s not that employers won’t offer you training and support, but they do want people who can work independently and effectively and who really want to develop their skills further.

    The working world is very different to the student world. Employers want people who understand the differences and have already shown they can bridge that gap. Make sure you are getting as much work experience as you can and develop those all important transferable skills.
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