What soft skills do you need to start your career?

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Milkround Student & Graduate Careers
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#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#1
Hi all,

Over at Milkround, we've created our new 'soft skills' hub, articles from which I'm going to be sharing on here over the next few days.

With the holidays coming up, now's a great time to take a step back and think about the soft skills you have, and what you need to work on!

For those of you who might not have heard of soft skills before, soft skills are the personality traits that you have that make you employable.

E.g. Leadership, communication, teamwork...etc

These skills usually form the basis of competency questions at interview, so by spending a little time thinking about this topic, you'll also better prepare yourself for interviews and assessment centres, for apprenticeships, internships and placements or graduate schemes.

You can check our our soft skills hub here, but before you do, it's worth noting that soft skills play a huge role in the salary you will end up earning and it is imperative to work on developing your soft skills.

If you've got any questions about soft skills, competency questions etc, ask away!

Chantelle & The Milkround team
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Milkround Student & Graduate Careers
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#2
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#2
Hi all,

First up...today's soft skill that I'd like to highlight is: teamwork!

Teamwork is a pretty key skill for employers. Good teamwork builds morale, helps us accomplish tasks we cannot achieve by ourselves, supports individual development and allows us to exchange ideas and innovations.

This sounds like a pretty simple soft skill to showcase, as we all have to work as part of a group at some point whether at uni or school - usually on a group project or in a sports team.

However, 'teamwork' in the workplace is usually a lot less simple than the above examples - as you may be working with people that are very different from yourself, whether older, younger, more experienced, with very different view points from yourself - but that's all part of the challenge. You may even end up working on projects at work with people you have never met in person at all.

Employers may ask at interview 'tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team' - when preparing for this kind of question, my top tip is to think about the following:

1) What were the challenges in achieving your task as part of a team?
2) How did you deal with those challenges?
3) What were the outcomes of your task and what was the impact of your contribution and...
4) What did you learn by working as part of a team, and is there anything you would do differently next time?

For anyone that's interested in learning more on how to improve their teamwork skills, check out the following articles on our advice site:

Soft skills: teamwork
5 extracurricular activities to improve your CV
Teamwork: student job skills
5 easy and creative ways to improve your employability whilst at university

Hope this helps! Anyone ever had a question about teamwork come up in an interview?

Chantelle & The Milkround team
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Milkround Student & Graduate Careers
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#3
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#3
Hi all,

Next up...critical thinking skills!

Critical thinking skills may not spring to mind immediately when considering the kind of skills that employers are looking for - but 'critical thinking' was once voted by business magazine Forbes as the most important of competencies.

Critical thinking is defined as “using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems”.

By the time you start your career, you will have used a bucket load of critical thinking skills in project work at school or university - so the best way to illustrate this aptitude is to use your academic work. Use the most recent and most relevant example of your work where you have demonstrated this skill, and if asked about it in an interview, remember to highlight the following:

1) What factors you considered when reasoning which approach to the project/problem/task
2) How you ruled out certain factors and decided upon an approach, and why.
3) The outcome of your reasoning, and if there were any improvements that you would make if you were given the same task again.

Hope that gives you guys some food for thought - how do your critical thinking skills hold up? Check out some more of our advice articles on critical thinking here:

Top 10 skills for CV's & Cover Letters (and how to talk about them without using cliches)
Soft Skills: Critical Thinking

Chantelle & The Milkround team
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Juichiro
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#4
Report 6 years ago
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(Original post by Milkround Student & Graduate Careers)
Hi all,

Over at Milkround, we've created our new 'soft skills' hub, articles from which I'm going to be sharing on here over the next few days.

With the holidays coming up, now's a great time to take a step back and think about the soft skills you have, and what you need to work on!

For those of you who might not have heard of soft skills before, soft skills are the personality traits that you have that make you employable.

E.g. Leadership, communication, teamwork...etc

These skills usually form the basis of competency questions at interview, so by spending a little time thinking about this topic, you'll also better prepare yourself for interviews and assessment centres, for apprenticeships, internships and placements or graduate schemes.

You can check our our soft skills hub here, but before you do, it's worth noting that soft skills play a huge role in the salary you will end up earning and it is imperative to work on developing your soft skills.

If you've got any questions about soft skills, competency questions etc, ask away!

Chantelle & The Milkround team
Any evidence supporting that claim?
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sunnydespair
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#5
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#5
Perhaps an example of a time when you've helped others . Or an example of a time when you've achieved a goal.
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username738914
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#6
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(Original post by Juichiro)
Any evidence supporting that claim?
It's true. If you can't waltz through the interview process of a top paying job you won't get it. If you can't relate with, develop and lead others; your chances of moving up to management will be hugely limited.

Practical ability is obviously important, but the 'soft skills' serve as the platform to amplify these abilities.

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Milkround Student & Graduate Careers
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#7
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(Original post by Juichiro)
Any evidence supporting that claim?
As someone else has alluded to on this thread, this is less a case that there has been a study conducted directly linking soft skills to future salary (that I am aware of anyway!), and rather more of an inference.

This article from the Guardian discusses the state of play when it comes to employer expectations around soft skills, but I think this quote sums up the message of the article nicely:

He said: "The world of work is very much based on relationships and we all have to deal with other people working in teams. That means they have to be able to communicate in different ways. You have to be able to negotiate and be able to interpret and listen, some people working in teams will have to take leadership roles. Expectations among employers have grown."

By being aware of the effect soft skills can have on your future career success, you can take concious action to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance in your career - and that's what we're aiming to help students and grads do :-)
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Milkround Student & Graduate Careers
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#8
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Hello!

Our first soft skill to discuss for the New Year - research skills!

It is more than likely that you would have had the chance to develop this skill whilst at school or university, whilst preparing for an essay or dissertation - but the research doesn't stop there.

Once you are in the world of work, you may be required to use your research skills at some point, perhaps whilst preparing a presentation, researching and understanding the market or industry you are working within, or perhaps seeking alternative options for a potential business solution.

The easiest way to demonstrate your research skills straight away to a potential employer during an interview is to show the depth of research you have done on the company you are interviewing with - don't just limit yourself to their 'about us' page, check out similar businesses online, read up on industry news and set up 'Google Alerts' to notify you if that business has been in the news lately.

Hope that gives you a few ideas to start with - happy researching!

Chantelle & The Milkround team
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Milkround Student & Graduate Careers
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#9
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#9
Hello all,

It's been a while since we've shared some tips on soft skills - so let's kick off again with 'leadership skills'!

Leadership skills are important even if you might not use them very often. Once you enter the workforce you are bound to get responsibility of at least a project or two at some point, and it is then crucial that you know how to get it done...

The most practical ways to develop leadership skills whilst at university/school is to lead on joint projects, set up a club or society or volunteer to take a leadership position in an existing one. Taking on responsibilities like these will also teach you other important skills along with leadership, including resilience. Don't forget - leadership doesn't mean 'being the boss' of others necessarily - it simply means being the driving force behind a project. It's just as important as a leader to take on the opinions and advice of others, and to be a good team-worker at the same time.

Check out more soft skills advice over on Milkround - and let us know if you have any questions!

Chantelle & The Milkround team
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