21st Century Skills Every Graduate Needs To Secure that Dream Job


In today’s job world, graduate must be able to communicate, collaborate and solve problems. These skills are developed through social and emotional intelligence (SEL).

The gap between the skills people learn and the skills people need is becoming more obvious, as traditional learning falls short of equipping students with the knowledge they need to thrive, according to the World Economic Forum report New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning Through Technology.

Depending on the career sector and profession you choose to work in, there could be very specific skills, abilities and knowledge needed to do the job. However, complementing these are general competencies and behaviours that are essential for successful working.

Important skills to have are:

1 Communication skills: Good communication is two-way, and graduate job hunters need to show they can listen as well as speak out.

Communication is really more of a package than an individual skill.

You need to be able to express yourself concisely to impress graduate recruiters, but you also need to be a good listener and good at asking questions. Communication is really more of a package than an individual skill:

Presentation skills are important
As is being able to phrase important questions
Not saying too much is more important than you might think
Understanding your audience and tailoring what you say is particularly important for graduate job hunters

Analytical and Problem solving skills:
Line managers don’t like hiring graduates who will come running every time they’re out of their depth. If you can step up with a solution, you’ll stand a better chance.

Problem solving is all about using logic, as well as imagination, to make sense of your situation and come up with an intelligent solution. It is connected to a number of other skills:

Level headedness and resilience are important for assessing a situation, and reassessing it if you fail the first time
You will need analytical skills, creativity and logical thinking to reach a solution
If you’re in a group you will also need good team working skills

If you’re set a problem as part of the graduate recruitment process, you could try using the IDEAL model, described by Bransford and Stein in their book Ideal Problem Solver. It breaks down what you need to do to solve a problem into stages:

Identifythe issue
Definethe obstacles
Examineyour options
Acton an agreed course of action
Lookat how it turns out, and whether any changes need to be made.

Negotiation and persuasion
This is about being able to set out what you want to achieve and how, but also being able to understand where the other person is coming from so that you can both get what you want or need and feel positive about it.

Learning skills —
Jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and employers want people who can grow and learn as changes come.

Strategic Thinking
If you right-brain types are starting to feel discouraged, take note: Some of the most sought-after skills have nothing to do with science and technology. Two of the 10 most valued skills involve high-level thinking and organization: strategic project management and strategic planning. “Strategy is about understanding the business purpose of a job rather than just the tasks of a job,” says Boston-area recruiter David Hayes.

  1. Teamwork
    Regardless of the job, employers want to hire people who are team players who are cooperative and work well with others. They don’t want employees who are difficult to work with. When you are interviewing be sure to share examples of how you worked well on a team.

Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.” – Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Is this possible in business? I believe so, but you have to be willing to take risks and progress through discomfort to get to the finish line.

Attitude might not be everything, but it’s extremely valuable.

Employers want employees who are positive, even in stressful and challenging circumstances. They want to hire applicants with a “can do” attitude, who are flexible, dedicated and who are willing to contribute extra, if necessary, to get the job done.

Adaptability and flexibility:
The world of work is changing at an ever increasing pace so employers actively seek out graduates who can adapt to changing circumstances and environments, and embrace new ideas, who are enterprising, resourceful and adaptable. If you are the kind of person who always has a ‘to do’ list and doesn’t like it when something arises which isn’t on your list, then you probably aren’t naturally adaptable.

New graduates will increasingly be employable based on their adaptability.

Flexibility involves:

adapting successfully to changing situations & environments
Keeping calm in the face of difficulties
Planning ahead, but having alternative options in case things go wrong
Thinking quickly to respond to sudden changes in circumstances
Persisting in the face of unexpected difficulties
Anticipating & responding positively to changing environments
Ability to adapt to change positively in response to changing circumstances
Taking on new challenges at short notice.
Dealing with changing priorities/workloads

Interpersonal skills:
Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact and engage with people. I just heard about someone who was hired because of his ability to connect with people. That trumped the other skills the employer was seeking, so be sure yours are up to par. Your interpersonal skills will be evaluated during your job interviews, so it’s important to prepare for the interview so you are as comfortable and confident as possible when interviewing.

Now that you know the skills you need, learn what steps you need to take to get them.