Employers evaluate potential candidates on key skills that go beyond the basic requirements for a position.
When searching for a job, many students assume employers are most concerned with a candidate’s educational background, credentials and prior work experience. What they might not realize is that employers also evaluate potential candidates on key skills that go beyond the basic requirements for a position.
Whether you’re a current student or a recent graduate, developing these skills can help you set yourself apart from other job applicants and secure new opportunities in your field.
Communication skills. Recent research shows that 73 percent of employers look for candidates that can demonstrate strong written communication skills, and that this differentiator can help them choose between two equally qualified candidates. Strong writing skills are especially critical in today’s digital world since much of business communication occurs via email. Being able to articulate your ideas clearly and concisely in writing is crucial for both internal communication and interactions with clients and customers.
Verbal communication skills are equally as important. Whether you’re working with others on a project, managing a small team or overseeing a department, having the ability to communicate effectively with clients, customers and colleagues is critical to your team’s success. Public speaking is also a valuable skill and one that you can start practicing while in school. Knowing how to relay ideas and information so that others can easily understand them is of particular importance as you advance to roles with greater responsibility and visibility within an organization.
Critical thinking. Organizations value employees who have the ability to think critically about business goals and challenges. Critical thinkers are problem solvers; they offer fresh ideas that contribute to business growth or develop strategies that will enhance efficiency and help an organization improve its bottom line. Demonstrating critical thinking skills can help you gain your employer’s trust and respect, and even allow you advance to leadership positions within your organization.
Time Management. Regardless of your position or field, you will be expected to respond to and manage several requests from your customers, clients or coworkers. It’s important to practice good time management skills while in college so that you do not struggle with multiple assignments throughout your career. When you’re interviewing for potential positions, showing that you know how to manage your time wisely — between work, school and other obligations—will let your employer know that you take your responsibilities seriously and that you can be trusted to deliver on your promises.
No matter the career path you choose to pursue, your ability to communicate effectively, think critically, and manage multiple deadlines is essential to your success. Luckily, college is the perfect place to begin developing these competencies! In addition to fulfilling your coursework, make sure you take the time to focus on the core skills that will help you be successful throughout your future career.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.