// 5 key skills every graduate job applicant should have

5 key skills every graduate job applicant should have

by Laura Slingo

You may be armed with a shiny certificate, but employers are looking for potential hires with an arsenal of workplace skills too.

Thankfully, your degree has armed you with a range of soft skills that employers value dearly.

Here are five skills every graduate job applicant must display on their CV, and throughout the interview process, to prove to employers that their value extends beyond a degree and they are worth employing.

Time management and organisation

Employers look for new hires because they need someone that can help them reach their goals. As a result, prospective candidates must have exceptional time management and organisation skills to make these aims become a reality.

As a graduate, you’re well-versed in juggling your workload thanks to your bountiful assignment deadlines and exams. On your CV, address these skills and support your claims with numbers where possible to quantify your ability.


While you must be able to work solo in the world of work, your tasks will often contribute towards wider projects across teams, departments and clients. As a result, the ability to work in a team is essential.

During your studies, you will have had the opportunity to work in teams via presentations, seminars and even part-time work. Therefore, you’ll have plenty to talk about on your CV and in an interview.

However, don’t fall into the trap of talking about what your team did. Make sure you always refer to your own actions and how they contributed to the success of the team.

Adaptability and resilience

Dealing with setbacks is a huge part of business and university life. Graduates’ adaptability and resilience is something that employers value for two reasons.

Firstly, as a new recruit, you’ll have to learn new processes, programs and systems and adjust to a new working environment. No doubt, there will be some teething problems when you first start your role, so employers are seeking hires that have the ability to adapt to, and overcome, any unexpected issues or difficulties.

Secondly, business isn’t always plain sailing. Employers need staff that are unaffected by these hiccups and can respond positively with solutions.

Think about examples of your resilience from throughout university and reference them on your CV.

Verbal and written communication

Good communication skills are crucial. Employers want new hires that can clearly communicate their thoughts via written or verbal means and can listen to others effectively.

On your CV, mention specific examples of your communication abilities throughout your degree and tailor them to the role you’re applying for. Common situations that prove graduates’ communication abilities include writing essays and giving presentations.

Computer proficiency

In such a mobile, tech-savvy world, it almost seems redundant to mention computer proficiency as a skill. However, it’s worth buffing up your knowledge on common systems used in the workplace and demonstrating your ability on your CV – the fact that you’re skilled in workplace systems may put you ahead of the competition.

Proficiency in Office programs, such as Word and Excel, is a must, so get clued up on how to track changes, provide comments and use common Excel functions. In addition, many companies operate on cloud-based systems such as Office 365 and Google Drive, so give yourself a test run to evaluate your competency and detail these skills on your CV.

About the author: Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

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