With graduation impending for many in a matter of weeks, soon-to-be graduates are busy putting the finishing touches on their resumes in order to impress and hopefully get that sought-after yet very mythical callback. If one is lucky, they will be called for an interview.
What happens, though, as one is waiting in the office, sweating through the expensive suit or name-brand blouse waiting for their chance to astound? In today’s market, it helps to be different than the rest of the candidates in the pool and to be able to stand out among the rest. It benefits to know and possess some unconventional job skills in today’s working world.
So the day of the interview has finally arrived. Now what? Person after person, parent after parent, all have their two cents to put in when it comes to making an impression on the hiring employer. Many more people have seen the countless pages of news articles regarding what to say and what not to say at a job interview. Majority of the skills mentioned in said articles are generic and most often come across the minds of most people as common sense.
For example, in today’s technology-driven society and work force, it pays to know and be able to work with computers and the ever-growing social media movement. “Many employers today are using social media in the workplace, so a knowledge of how to use social media in a professional setting is helpful,” William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services said.
Beyond social media and other technology-savvy innovations, it’s important to be aware of skills that are not as common and tapped-in yet. Something as simple as being polite and grateful to superiors and fellow employees goes a long way when it comes to being considered for a position. Some people forget the thought and meaning behind a simple thank-you or an e-mail that was returned in an orderly time frame. “Common courtesy, while not often considered a ‘skill,’ is nonetheless critical to new employees. For example, not returning calls or e-mails promptly, not turning off cell phones in meetings, showing up late, or texting while in a meeting all contribute to a negative impression in the workplace,” Hill said.
Some of the best advice on how to gain both experience and connections are learned through internships. A multitude of people are always mentioning this and the University sends out newsletters constantly in regards to possible openings in both part-time and full-time positions. Many of the skills that can be learned and experienced in internships apply once graduation happens and the hunt for a full-time position is in hot pursuit. Employers want prospects with working experience under their belt. “Employers look for students who have completed multiple internships in a related field or setting,” Kathleen Kennedy, Director of Cooperative Education, said.
Above all, being able to communicate and convey the meaning behind what one means is an imperative skill that many people have trouble voicing these days. “Verbal and written communication skills are critical. One must also be able to take a problem, reduce it to its core element and be able to communicate clearly to an audience a solution to solving the problem,” Hill added.
With the growth of international business, another skill that makes candidates stand out is if they are able to speak a foreign language on top of the aforementioned skills of social media and communication skills. “Good writing skills, computer skills, a working knowledge of social media and proficiency in languages especially Spanish, Arabic and Chinese are desirable skills,” Kennedy said. Kennedy also said that many employers want students who were involved in leadership roles during their time at University.
With such a competitive pool of applicants, it is difficult to get one’s name out there and get that desired callback. By possessing some skills outside the box and some that many people lack, it ups one’s chances. Remember to look them in the eye and let them know you are above the rest.