Skills That Will Help Land a Job; CAREERS AND EDUCATION

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 3, 2001 | Go to article overview

Skills That Will Help Land a Job; CAREERS AND EDUCATION


A UNIVERSITY degree no longer guarantees a top job. Students are under increasing pressure to make sure that their CVs stand out.

Almost half of degree-level jobs are open to graduates of any subject, meaning that employers are less interested in academic fields of study and more concerned with skills and experience.

An example often cited by employers is the value of people who can plan workloads effectively. Students who regularly meet multiple essay deadlines will already have this skill.

In a survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), employers identified teamworking ability, interpersonal skills, motivation and enthusiasm, flexibility and customer orientation as the prime skills.

While a degree course will go a long way to developing some of these skills, it is important that students take part in extracurricular activities to enhance their development in these key areas.

Examples include: membership of student societies; involvement in university clubs and committees and undertaking students' union activities; leisure and sport; vacation work placements and part-time work.

Cecile Bertout, a graduate recruiter from Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, underlines the importance of obtaining skills through non-academic activities. She says: 'We want graduates to show self-motivation and initiative by taking on positions of responsibility not directly connected to their degrees.' Students should make the most of holidays. As well as making time for study, they should also try to gain work experience, preferably in a field that they are considering for a career Nikki Williams, graduate recruitment manager of accountancy and professional services group Deloitte & Touche, says: 'Career focus is one of the most important things we look for. We expect graduates to have an understanding of both the type of work they are applying for and our firm's position in the marketplace.' After acquiring such skills, students must ensure that they present them to employers with maximum effect. …

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