When hiring, employers all look for a set of core skills. You will normally be asked to give examples – in your application or at interview – of times you have demonstrated these.
When you get around to applying to jobs, the ability to demonstrate these core skills is as important as being able to demonstrate excellent grades on your degree. As the core skills are largely transferable, you should find ways to prove or improve even before you start to think about specific jobs.
Core skills include:
- Team working
- Communication (written and spoken)
- Problem solving
- Time management
- Commercial awareness
- Eye for detail
- IT skills
- Taking the initiative
Some of these you will be able to evidence through your studies. For example, any Oxford student who has to write essays as part of their course, should be able to use this as an example of good written communication skills.
However, the way employers prefer to see these demonstrated is through work experience or extra-curricular activities.
Although we don’t classify them as employability skills, graduate schemes often test your logic, numerical and verbal reasoning skills through psychometric tests.
Many jobs will have additional skills they look for. Advertising careers, for example, are likely to want some evidence of creativity, and charity fund-raising may want to see evidence of your using databases. When you have an idea of the jobs you want to apply for, you should investigate what sort of skills you should start to develop, in preparation for your application.