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Why soft skills are important in the graduate job market

Trying to find a job as a graduate can be tough, but developing a bank of soft skills is one way to boost your employability. Soft skills are personal qualities that allow an individual to interact with others and effectively contribute to a business. They are highly advantageous when it comes to working within an organisation and are an ideal way for graduates to highlight their value when they are lacking the relevant experience.

The key soft skills and how to build yours

Teamwork is a trait that employers value. Job seekers must be able to collaborate effectively with clients and colleagues, as the failure to do so is likely to result in reduced productivity. For example, a graduate who refuses to accept feedback or constructive criticism from fellow staff will struggle to adapt to the rigours of a professional environment. Teamwork can be honed by participating in competitive team sports like soccer and basketball or joining a drama group.

Leadership and initiative are essential qualities for anybody who plans on eventually occupying a senior or managerial role within an organisation. However, these skills don’t necessarily have to be in a workplace environment. By including your position as the captain of a local cricket team, you are revealing that have been selected by your peers as a leader charged with decision making responsibilities.

It might seem like an obvious one but a strong work ethic is hugely important. Employers will be looking for people who are willing to exert themselves in order to succeed and those prone to slacking off will be at a disadvantage. Volunteering, perhaps at a soup kitchen or community centre, is an excellent way to demonstrate work ethic, as you are performing an unpaid service to help others.

Organisation is yet another crucial attribute that employers are on the look-out for. Being adequately prepared to tackle any situation in the workplace is vital and one way to separate yourself from the herd is to take on an organisational position in a community capacity, such as coordinating a Relay for Life team. This communicates that you can be trusted to manage a project and direct people while achieving an objective.

A candidate displaying perseverance goes a long way towards obtaining employment. A budding journalist willing to put themselves out there might do so in the form of requesting an internship at a newspaper, even if there is no position advertised. By constantly asking to come on board in the hope of gaining some first-hand experience, applicants are doing their utmost to get their foot in the door.