4 Skills Every Student And New Graduate Job Seeker Needs


In today’s fast-paced world, it’s essential to keep your skills as current as your iPod (unless you’re listening to the soulful melodies from the Backstreet Boys’ “Black & Blue” album – that never gets old).

Following are the four skills every student and new grad needs to have in order to optimize their employability.

Fantastic Four may not have been a box office hit, but nailing these fantastic four skills is sure to make you a hit on the job market.

Social media savvy

Sharing thoughts and interesting articles via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to demonstrate those creative communication skills you claim to have. Not only that, but social networking is what it says: a way of networking (and it’s no secret that networking has become the new grad key to success).

Furthermore, being apt with social media simply opens up more job opportunities. Every business is looking to market themselves online, so being a young person who already knows how to do that is going to make you very appealing.

Professionalism goes a long way

It’s no secret that business grads are traditionally seen as much more “employable” than others – their business etiquette training starts in first year. Professionalism is all about how you present yourself. Dress professionally and comfortably (that way you can focus on your conversations and not your wardrobe choice). Be aware of your body language; offer a firm handshake and look people in the eye when speaking to them.

This also refers to (surprise, surprise) how you simply interact with others. Always wear a smile, practice active listening and don’t interrupt. Read the newspaper so you can participate in conversation if it heads in that direction.

Be open to change

If you want to remain a contender in a competitive job market, be adaptable and willing to learn new ways of doing things. Period.

If you know a company uses a certain program, it doesn’t hurt to explore that program prior to an interview. If you find yourself in an interview and they ask your familiarity with a product you’ve never heard of, indicate you don’t know much about it but are able to pick things up quickly. “Oh, your company utilizes whissleboofs? I was just looking those up online the other day. I’m very excited to give it a try!”

Go for the gold

The go-getter attitude can begin as early as the interview by asking questions indicating an interest in going further with the company: “What are the biggest challenges faced in this position?”

Continue to take the initiative once you land the job. Get to know people (and not just the people you work with on a daily basis). Perhaps even learn how to use the fax machine! Keep yourself busy at work and if you aren’t sure what to do, suggest something or ask questions. Employers want employees they can trust to be working hard without needing constant supervision.

Photo credit: king of monks on Flickr
About the author

Leah Ruehlicke works in video production, living in a tiny apartment in Toronto with bad water pressure and an amazing book collection. Follow her on @LeahRuehlicke.