As you prepare to enter the job market, whether it be for an internship or first job after graduation, you’re likely focusing on industry-related skills. And those are certainly important! Reading up on industry news, working on a portfolio, and other elements to show off your abilities will help you get a foot in the door. However, when you’re applying and interviewing, there are also skills you need to prove that you’d be a good employee, leader, and team player.
1. Speaking Skills
Even if you won’t be making big presentations in your chosen career path, you still need to know how to speak with a new employee, ask questions, and speak up in meetings with clients. Working on your speaking skills will ease your fears and allow your ideas to shine. Look for a public speaking club to practice your skills if it’s something that stresses you out. Otherwise, focus on how you talk to others both in casual and more professional settings. Watch Ted Talks and pay attention to how your mentors or professors speak to you and try and pick up some tips.
- Listening Skills
You can’t claim to have great communication skills if your listening skills aren’t up to par. Work on sharpening your active listening, which reinforces what a speaker has said to you. When you’re in a conversation, try these tips:
- Focus on what the speaker says.
- Notice the speaker’s body language.
- Wait for the speaker to finish, without interrupting.
- Ask questions to clarify any unclear points.
- Repeat the message you heard back to the speaker. Phrases such as “I understand you want to …” and “So you’re saying that …” are good starting points.
When you listen intentionally, it shows others you care and value their opinion. This is helpful in all aspects of office life, both professionally, and while making networking connections.
- Software Competency
If you haven’t been in the job market yet, you might not be acquainted with industry standards in terms of emailing, document sharing, communication tools, and more. Make sure you know how to use standard programs like Google Drive and Slack. During informational interviews or networking, see if you can determine what the most common systems are for your industry. This will also help your onboarding process go more smoothly once you get the job.
Being a strong leader isn’t just about telling others what to do. It helps you work better in groups, communicate to others, and gain confidence in your abilities and opinions. If you haven’t had a chance to strengthen your leadership skills through a club or other university organization, it isn’t too late to get involved. Start small by organizing an event or working as an assistant for someone with a larger leadership role. There are many skills that can be obtained from a leadership position, not to mention a new entry on your resume that’s sure to impress.
Consider how you can improve your skills to make you not only the best candidate for the specific position, but also a great employee that a company would be thrilled to work for. Always put your best foot forward and you’re sure to wow the recruiters.