Freshers often find themselves in a bind as they begin their job search. Unless you majored in a specialized field, you might feel stuck. Perhaps you have little previous experience to add to your CV. In a world where automation is starting to take over many business functions, freshers soon discover that skills they picked up during their education are not as useful as they hoped.
But all is not lost for recent graduates like you! Businesses will always need great employees. You probably have more transferable skills than you think. Let’s have a look at the attributes businesses expect their employees to have. We’ll also explore the skills you can develop that will help you land a job.
What Businesses Expect From Their Talent Pool?
Businesses look for candidates with the skill sets needed to do a job well. When considering freshers without any significant work-related experience, they will generally consider the following factors:
Many businesses look for graduates of schools they’re already familiar with. A Silicon Valley company may favor schools such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, or San Jose State. That’s because these schools have existing linkages with Silicon Valley companies. Employers know that these schools’ graduates are intelligent and can be trained.
If companies have positive experiences with alumni from particular schools, they’re also more likely to favor those schools again in the future. If you didn’t graduate from an Ivy League college or an elite public institution, don’t panic. A recruiter might have a preference for certain institutions, but they won’t exclude you if you didn’t attend that college.
Grades are not the only measure of success. However, they are a good indicator of the effort and dedication you put into your education. Having finished university indicates a high level of commitment. Good grades enhance that perception.
But you don’t need to have graduated summa cum laude to qualify for a great job. Some recruiters seek out graduates who achieved GPAs between 2.5 to 3.5. That’s because these grades can show that a student is well-rounded.
Whether you took part in theater, sports, or charitable projects, companies like to hire graduates who participated in extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities show the ability to juggle multiple priorities. They can also indicate valuable skills such as teamwork, thinking on your feet, or dedicating yourself to something you care about.
If you’re lucky enough to land an internship, take it seriously. An internship is a fantastic opportunity to gain workplace experience. You’ll also develop skills that will help you as you enter the job market.
In the best case scenario, the company you intern with might invite you to join them after you graduate. If not, you can ask them to put in a good word for you with their networks.
7 Skills Every Fresher Needs To Land Any Job
The four factors we listed above help develop and reveal what we call “essential skills.” These are skills that every employee, regardless of industry or rank, needs to thrive.
The skills listed below are essential for any role. Technical skills can be taught on the jo<b. However, these so-called “soft” skills already need to be part of an employee’s skill set by the time they graduate. In other words, these skills are transferable and can help you land a job almost anywhere.
Effective Communication Skills
Great communication is essential in any workplace. It ecompasses both written and verbal communication skills. You’ll need to learn how to express yourself in writing, and speak confidently to a wide range of people.
When people think of communication skills, they most often think about the ability to write clearly and express a point convincingly. I recommend you use an online grammar checker when writing (there are plenty of good tools). You’d be surprised how many people will be critical of a person who made a silly grammar mistake in their job application.
Listening is an important communication skill. Active listening will allow you to determine what a client or customer needs. You can then translate that into offering a solution that can meet those needs. Misinterpretation can be disastrous in business in terms of time and revenue lost. Thus, you need to listen and ask for clarification if you are unsure about anything.
Awareness of Business Fundamentals
You don’t entirely know how a business works until you work for the firm. But doing your research about the company you’re applying to will help you ace your interview. Understanding the industry and context in which the business operates is also essential.
Companies often don’t care about your grades as much as you might think, especially if you majored in a field that’s unrelated to their niche. But you’re sure to impress if you display strong and current industry knowledge. For example, if you’re a graduate trying to get into finance, you might read publications like the Wall Street Journal or The Economist to keep up to date with industry events.
This will show interviewers that you are serious about working in their industry. It is also a good indicator of versatility, culture fit, and willingness to learn. Understanding industry fundamentals will help you hit the ground running.
Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving Methods
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills relate to your ability to think through an issue from different angles and come to a suitable answer or solution based on data and reason.
A great critical thinker takes a logical approach and uses analytical skills to spot trends and patterns as they work to resolve issues. They are also willing to examine alternative angles, consider other points of view, and change their stance in the light of new information.
The most effective problem-solving methods involve looking at problems from different perspectives and coming up with the solution that offers the greatest net benefit.
Businesses pay close attention to how employees use their time. Time management is perhaps more critical than ever at the current time, given that many companies have implemented remote working in response to COVID-19. Many companies help employees manage and monitor their time with time tracker and employee scheduling tools.
Your employer will want to see that you can get results and return deliverables within the time allocated, without incurring a significant amount of overtime. You’ll also need to show that you can manage your time independently, without the need for constant monitoring, follow-up, or managerial oversight. This is why time management is one of the first skills you’ll need as you jump into the world of work following graduation.
Time management involves prioritizing the right tasks, juggling responsibilities to ensure you meet deadlines, and resisting the urge to procrastinate and waste time. It also involves speaking up and asking for help if you’re overwhelmed and your workload is too heavy for the time allowed.
People Management Skills & Teamwork Abilities
No employee is an island, even if they’re the only person with their specific job function. Companies are increasingly putting a premium on their employees’ teamwork skills. Good team players are collaborative, great communicators, and tackle problems by asking “what’s best for all of us?” instead of just “what’s best for me?”
Even if you’re not going straight into a management role, you’ll also need to understand how to manage people and develop your leadership skills. This will allow you to lead on projects when needed, and grow into a management role as you gain experience.
People management is more than just signing paychecks and monitoring timesheets on Zoomshift. You’ll need to know how to run effective meetings, provide appropriate training, and recognize and develop employee talent. You’ll also need to mediate in situations of conflict, give feedback on performance, and confidently make decisions. Great managers are good with people, strong problem-solvers, and highly diplomatic.
You might be a long way from taking on a senior management role, but even the most junior employees can develop their leadership qualities and carry themselves like a leader. “Carrying yourself like a leader” does not refer to bossing people around, being a bully, or acting like you own the place. Rather, we’re talking about the following traits:
- Self-accountability. Great leaders take ownership of everything they do and the results they get. They don’t offer any excuses for failure. Instead, they accept constructive criticism, learn from their mistakes, and apply these lessons moving forwards.
- Delegation. You don’t have to do everything yourself, and you should not try. Leaders understand that others are better than them at some things, and use the talent at their disposal to get things done.
- Relationship-building. Leaders build and maintain strong relationships with their peers, subordinates, and seniors. They know that they can learn from others’ experiences and are willing to share their own experiences as well. They understand the truism that the more you put into a relationship, the more you get from it.
- Motivation. A leader is self-motivated and driven to succeed.
Not all bosses are great leaders, and not all leaders occupy management positions. You can start thinking like a leader as soon as you start your first job.
Negotiation and Persuasion Skills
You will occasionally face disagreements at work. However, great employees do not allow disagreement to dissolve into conflict. It’s possible to strike a balance between bending over backwards and being stubborn.
Negotiation and persuasion start with understanding where the other party is coming from. You can then work together towards a solution where everyone can derive some benefit.
These skills will also serve you well in any kind of sales or customer-facing position. With strong persuasion skills, you’ll be able to find out what a customer needs and persuade them that your company’s product or service is the answer.
Another benefit of negotiation skills? You’ll need them when it’s time to ask for a raise.
The job market is tough at the moment, especially for young people and recent graduates. However, companies are still looking for great employees with all the necessary skills to succeed. If you develop the key skills for freshers we’ve outlined here, you’ll be well-positioned to land an amazing job when you graduate.
So-called soft skills, such as communication, business acumen, problem-solving, and leadership, are beneficial regardless of what niche or technical skills you have. A well-rounded education, no matter the field of specialization, will help students to develop these skills. You can also develop them through extracurricular activities, part-time work while you study, and internship experience.
Regardless of how you acquire them, the seven basic skills listed above will help you in all industries, from arts and entertainment to finance and technology. As you prepare for your first job interviews, think about the times you have exhibited these skills. If you don’t feel you have them yet, don’t panic. Actively seek opportunities to develop them and learn from those with more experience.
The best of luck with your first job search!