Whether you’re applying for part-time or full-time jobs, work experience roles or internships, the process of talking about yourself and how fabulous you are isn’t the easiest task for most people.
It’s important not to sell yourself short, though. If you can’t get across what you want to say on paper (CV, application form, covering letter) then you won’t get the chance to dazzle a potential employer in person with your winning smile and charming personality.
Importantly, if you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will.
Transferable skills are one of your most valuable tools in the box. I’m a big believer that many role-specific skills can be taught and learned in the workplace, but it’s the important foundation skills that you need to have and be able to demonstrate with interesting and relevant examples.
Whether you have previous work experience or whether you’re fresh from university or other education and are looking for your first job, these are a few of the skills which are invaluable to any employer:
- Communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking and writing. Think about how you interact with different people in different situations (one-on-one meetings, delivering a presentation, as part of a group, etc) and provide examples which show you can tailor your language, choose your vocabulary appropriately, and know when to speak and when to listen.
- Team working looks at how you demonstrate what strengths you bring to a group, whilst being supportive and encouraging of others. Think of examples which demonstrate how you contribute to the outcome and success of a group project.
- Problem solving is about how you reach goals and how you overcome barriers. A good problem solver understands and can work through the process of identifying problems, assessing risk, analysing and decision making, taking action, and seeking feedback. Think about how you’ve been able to show this when working on a project, completing an individual task, or in your day to day duties and responsibilities.
- Organisation includes being able to work to deadlines and having good time management. Think of examples which show consistency in your organisational ability, that you are able to plan your time efficiently and can manage different tasks simultaneously.
- Self motivation and the desire for personal development shows a potential employer that you strive to be the best you can be. Think about how you’d like to progress and develop your skills and how you can show accountability for your own learning. The level of quality shown in your work will also reflect on you as an individual.
When demonstrating any of these skills, try and use ‘professional’ examples – these don’t have to come from the workplace, but could come from uni/school, voluntary experience, or even from a social scenario (as long as it still shows you in a positive, professional light).
It’s always hard to think of examples on the spot, so keep an ongoing record for yourself that you can add to whenever you achieve something (it’ll also help show up any gaps in your skill base which you can then set goals to work towards). That way, when it comes to filling out an application or attending an interview, you can just look over it and remind yourself of the great things you’ve done and the awesome person you are. Above all else, belief in yourself and your own abilities is key.