Many recent graduates or young professionals have had to deal with the difficult realities of being unemployable upon completing school. Some were not privileged to be exposed to programs or workshops to help prepare them for what is at stake in the real world especially in the workplace. I stand to be corrected, but I believe most of our tertiary institutions’ curricula is not designed to bridge the gap that exists between college and the business environment.
You can barely count the number of Career Service Offices available in tertiary institutions that offer career support to its students. The few vibrant Career Offices available are mostly found in top private schools! Majority of the students who attend these ‘ivy league’ schools in Ghana especially, come from affluent homes. In my view, some of these students tend to believe all is sorted out for them, hence do not need to prepare for life after school. Even if employment or a business is guaranteed after school, you still need to strategically position yourself to excel.
Your Virtual Career Office (VCO) is determined to provide this support to everyone, regardless of your family background and school you attend or attended – all hope is not lost guys!
Below are some of the skills top employers are looking for in recent graduates and also potential entrepreneurs must acquire to stand out from the lot. Remember the competition out there is fierce, hence the need to set yourself apart and be sought after.
For each skill, we will try and explain how it is relevant to both the prospective entrepreneur and employee. ENJOY!
Problem solving / entrepreneurial mind set – I will believe that you are considering starting your own business because there is a problem you have identified and want to solve. If this is not the case then I think you should reconsider your decision.
A successful entrepreneur is a problem solver – period!
Problem solving is a skill we all need, regardless of the direction we want to go after school. Employers are now recruiting graduates who have an entrepreneurial mind set, that is, critical thinkers, curious individuals who will add value wherever they find themselves. Your potential employer will be looking at the initiatives or your engagements while you were in school and or on vacation.
Effective communication skills – Millennials! Millennials!! Millennials!!! A lot of opportunities around us but unfortunately we are swamped with too many things to take time to develop our communications skills; both written and verbal.
The order of the day with youngsters now is, you either speak well and not write well (as a results of text writing), or write well and are unable to verbally communicate because Thoughts can now be easily expressed on social media without having to speak publicly.
Unfortunately, the two go hand in hand if you want to be a sought after individual. You must speak and write well.
Check this out – You own your business and cannot communicate effectively to your staff/employees? You cannot communicate to your stakeholders or potential investor? Tell us what this business is about and its future, and you are just stuttering?
Oh, your PRO will do that for you? Well, all the best!
Your supervisor or boss wants you to write a report for him and you cannot construct a simple sentence with no grammatical errors and without the use of text language? You cannot type a professional email?
I believe since we are millennials and are exposed to all sorts of apps/platforms to improve on our self we have no excuse. As a good friend always says,
‘Use your smartphone for smart things ’
Time management – People will take you seriously if you value your time. To excel in the workplace you must learn to manage your time well, especially when there is a lot of multi-tasking and meeting deadlines in the business world – whether you work for someone or own your business.
In the corporate environment, time management is very crucial especially for a young professional or recent graduate employee. At this early stage in your career a lot of your tasks will be generic, hence a lot will be expected of you by your supervisors.
To my to-be entrepreneur, your time management skills is not debatable. It is a requirement to the survival of your business. Fortunately for customers, they will always have variety to choose from, hence the need to equip yourself in order not to lose-out in the long run.
Leadership – There has been a lot of debate concerning whether leaders are born or made, but I believe some leaders are born and others also make a deliberate effort to become one by looking out for the common traits that exists with notable leaders. On the flip side, I believe some born leaders also need to sharpen the innate leadership skills to sour higher. While in school, you need to take advantage of opportunities such as getting involved in school activities – clubs & societies, volunteering, etc. to harness this skill.
Whether you are born with leadership skills or not, employers are looking to recruit individuals with these skills. They are looking to engage potential leaders who will take up leadership positions in future. Remember! Employers are not only recruiting you for the now, but also for the future.
Without this leadership skill I bet you cannot sustain your business, my FUTURE ENTREPRENEUR! Self-discipline is one important trait of a successful leader and if you fail to harness this skill your business will come crumbling.
Interpersonal skills– Gone are the days where you could go places regardless of how bad your interpersonal skills was. Unfortunately, people have become very sensitive to how people treat them as such ATTITUDE plays a big role in the corporate environment and when dealing with customers.
I am aware of people who were not given a job although they were qualified, because they had a bad attitude. I am also aware of people who lost their customers and employees because they as business owners had poor interpersonal skills.
As they say, dealing with people is not easy – it is a skill and you have got to learn it.
Your VCO is looking to equip individuals who want to make a difference and add value wherever they find themselves, as such we believe these skills and more are relevant to get you to the top – either as a recent graduate or a young entrepreneur.
Written by Akua Ampah