Many young professionals graduate from college somewhat unsure of what skills to list on their resumes and/or cover letters. Of course, if you have completed an internship or worked a part-time job, you know to include that information. You are probably prepared to list academic honors and a summary of your most important classes as well.
However, there are also skills most graduates possess just by virtue of being students. This article focuses on the transferrable skills that students learn over the course of completing their education that, unbeknownst to them, many employers desire.
Written & Oral Communications
Hiring managers place a high value on employees that can communicate effectively, both in writing and orally. Since communication is a key skill in almost every industry, and for almost every position, it is an important skill to focus on. However, let me caution you that just about every resume I have reviewed makes reference to the person being an effective communicator. That’s not enough. You need to support that statement.
First, the best way to prove that you possess good writing skills is to submit a good resume and cover letter. If you claim to be a good speaker, you need to show that during the job interview. Lack confidence? Consult a career counselor at your school, or retain a professional resume writer or career coach for advice.
Upon graduation, many people want to highlight their “leadership” skills. While it can be valuable to demonstrate that you have the ability to take initiative and lead your group to complete an assignment, employers also place a premium on employees who can work well in collaborative environments. You can showcase your teamwork skills by focusing on instances where you worked in a collaborative setting to complete a project, lab, paper, or other assignment.
An entry-level employee might not be asked to take charge of a project or committee for quite some time, but you will likely work in a team from day one. Therefore, do not underestimate the value of this skill.
Business or Industry Knowledge
Over the course of completing your education, you will likely have gained some industry knowledge. Make sure you highlight your knowledge or understanding of the industry you are targeting. You can also use this as an opportunity to show your interest in the position.
As you write your resume and/or cover letter, remember that you can draw on anything from academic experience to hobbies to back up your claims of skills or expertise. This is especially true of business or industry knowledge and understanding.
Many of the “Millennial” generation were raised during a period of time when social media wasn’t just a part of daily life, but something they can engage in before class, between classes, on the way to work, after work, and before they go to bed at night. Your generation can follow any person of interest, has hundreds of online connections, and gets regular updates on your favorite brands.
When you list your technical skills make sure to include your social media skills. If you have used social media in a classroom project or volunteer assignment, highlight it.
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In conclusion, there may be other transferable skills that you can mention in your resume or cover letter, depending on the position. Therefore, make sure to comb through the job posting carefully and tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you apply to.
by Kimberly Sarmiento
Kimberly Sarmiento is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and author of “The Complete Guide to Writing Effective Resume Cover Letters: Step by Step Instructions” and “How to Write Successful Letters of Recommendation: 10 Easy Steps for Reference Letters that Your Employees, Colleagues, Students & Friends will Appreciate.” She is a regular contributor to WorkAlpha.