Its not just about academics ......

It is that time of year again when graduates and school leavers prepare to secure themselves their first full time role outside of education! 

It’s a busy time for Recruiters, Graduates and Employers as they select the best fit for them (hopefully preparing themselves for September start dates).

Over the years the focus on securing candidates with strong academics is, for many of the clients we recruit for, essential (and even the main requirement) however in a small competitive marketing you underestimate “soft skills” at your peril! 

They are the difference between “adequate” and “ideal” in the search for candidates and being able to demonstrate these soft skills equates to demonstrating true potential, exactly what an employer needs to see from you!

So, what exactly do I mean by soft skills? 

Your hard skills can be measured, they can be demonstrated by prior qualifications, soft skills (or transferrable skills) are more intangible but are equally sought by your potential new employers. These are skills that are less specialised and more aligned with your personality. Examples of important soft skills could be communication, teamwork and problem solving.

How can I demonstrate them?

You need to know yourself, what are you good at? What comes easily to you? What would your peers, lecturers, previous employers say you were good at? When you worked in your part time role - what did you have to do and what skills does that prove? Get a list of these and then think about examples to show how you have proven you have these skills. It’s all about investing some time into the preparation!

Show your enthusiasm! It is so important particularly when nerves are at play. We have received many interview failures from candidates who seemed ideal for the position but whose feedback related to a lack of enthusiasm for the role and company.

And what soft skills are not being demonstrated?

Reviewing some of the recent research that has been conducted with employers, graduates were found lacking in soft skills including problem solving, attention to detail, communication and writing skills. My suggestion would be to ensure you demonstrate these skills. You could consider knowing this as an opportunity. I appreciate how challenging the transition from full time student to professional can be however it is just that – a challenge – arming yourself with the skills that employers are looking for could remove this barrier and ensure that you stand out in your search.