Students must build these 7 skills to ace future job interviews
One of the major paradigm shifts taking place globally in the last five years is the focus of employers on hiring freshers with marketable skills. While domain knowledge is really important, employers – from corporations to start-ups – are prioritising practical experience over pure theory and looking for potential hires who can hit the ground running.
Several universities are now revamping their programmes to mirror this trend. Hence, while choosing a graduate or post-graduate programme, evaluate whether your course focuses on skill-building. Identify the various opportunities – projects, internships, networking, industry engagements and guest lectures – that give you exposure and opportunities for skill-building within the programme.
An additional advantage of online degree programmes is that flexibility is an in-built advantage, and its virtues can be leveraged to take up part-time, projects and assignments, to invest in your own skill-building as you pursue studies. For example, Manipal University Jaipur offers online MBA, MCA, BCA and BBA degrees with job-readiness built into the programmes. The additional flexibility creates space for many more skill-building possibilities.
Here’s a comprehensive list of in-demand skills that transcend all streams and will help you ace your job interviews when the times arrive.
1. Be a tech-savvy
Technology is helping businesses reimagine products, services and systems at unimaginable speeds and the more you invest in learning tools you can use for more workplace effectiveness, the more attractive you will be to a potential employer.
You need not be from a technology stream to learn about technology, but understanding its role in your field can give you an edge. For example, if you’re from the HR stream, understating how AI can play a role in effective recruitment is a notable skill.
Knowledge of AI and machine learning, robotics, the Internet of Things, as well as basics like learning how to code, are great skills to invest in. Learning how to code is especially agnostic of what your degree was. There are many free online programmes that enable you to excel in a tech-enabled world.
2. Learn basic digital marketing principles
Every business leverages digital marketing skills to grow its visibility and cut through the clutter in an overcrowded market space.
Savvy communication, marketing and analytical skills form a sound foundation for building professional digital marketing skills.
There are several online programmes that offer basic and more in-depth knowledge of the subject. But there’s no better way to arm yourself than experimenting with your own digital profile or getting hands-on experience by supporting a friend/family member running a fledgeling business that needs digital marketing support.
One can be an intern at any age, and learn on the job.
3. Grow your data literacy
As the usage of the internet soars, there has been a massive surge in the amount of data being produced and consumed. Whether yours is an online/technology business or one that leverages data in a big way, the need for data scientists has skyrocketed.
Developing the ability to sift through massive amounts of data and make business sense of it – as a support function to your existing profile, or entirely switching to the business of data science – is a promising career progression.
Being able to slice and dice data effectively, can enhance decision-making and influence business outcomes in a significant way.
4. Leverage communication tools
The worldwide shift to the remote work model has nudged businesses and professionals to rethink the way we communicate, collaborate, share information with colleagues, clients and consumers.
Adapting to contemporary communication and video conferencing tools like Slack, Airmeets, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams is now a hygiene practice.
Also learning how to communicate remotely in a way that ensures seamless flow of information across teams, time zones and geographies, is almost non-negotiable.
5. Improve interpersonal communication
Articulate communication, whether you are a data scientist, brand manager or app designer, is growing in value as the world of work becomes more connected and inter-disciplinary. This skill will also enable you to excel in your job interviews, and let your knowledge shine. So, start prepping for it while still studying, and get a headstart in improving communications.
Other advantages include being able to influence your bosses, colleagues, team members, clients and consumers, and communicating articulately to various stakeholders of the business.
Effective communication helps build a leadership aura around you; it helps you have a voice and seat at the table as you grow in your career.
6. Grow an entrepreneurial mindset
While you might be looking for a job after graduation, most roles these days demand an entrepreneurial approach, to get things done. Don’t let your job title limit you; put your unique skills and strategic mindset to work and take initiatives to solve the biggest challenges facing your business, clients and customers. Take a deeper interest in aspects like Profit & Loss (P&L).
Also, committing to a high level of accountability in your job will nudge you to think like a CEO or entrepreneur. This, in turn, will help you make quicker strides in your career.
7. Practice effective time management
Technology has increased the pace at which we receive and share information, and hence, timelines have become tighter. Consumers, vendors and colleagues expect swift responses. Hence, effective management of your time and the ability to prioritise is an asset.
Leveraging scheduling apps, calendar invites, email schedulers and reminders can also be very beneficial. Making it part of your lifestyle early on will make you a more desirable candidate during placements, especially when your peers have the same domain skills.
Upskill while studying!
All these skills can be developed while you are still in college. By the time you appear for job interviews, you can share how you leveraged these skills during projects, internships and other engagement opportunities, to excel.
There are several ways to upskill. Internships, projects, freelance work, and volunteering are just some of the ways. Enrolling for free online programmes is also an option, while several non-profit platforms offer skill-building in areas like coding.
As you start implementing these skills, the world is your oyster. You just need to commit to yourself and get going.