When you’re looking for work some things are going to be universal, whether you’re looking for roles in banking or searching for occupational therapist jobs. There are some basic employment skills that are going to make you look like a more attractive candidate, especially when you’re just starting out. The competition for entry level jobs is fierce and it’s to your advantage to ensure you’re meeting the basic criteria before you jump into the ring. Some of these skills are ones you can put on your CV, others are softly persuasive skills that don’t come with a qualification, but will boost your ability to get an interview and win over the panel.
Unless you’re illegally picking fruit for a farmer trying to subvert employment laws, there’s likely not a job in the market that doesn’t require some basic knowledge of computers. Obviously scientists, statisticians, and other specialists will use very advanced, complicated programmes to get the results they need, and it would be a waste of your resources to pursue these skills unless you are coming one of these specialist jobs.
On the other hand, it can only be to your advantage to be able confidently perform some basic functions in Excel, to search effectively for information on the web and internal databases. These are how companies store their information and resources, handle rotas, budgets, reports and the being confident that you can work with the standard systems will go a long way towards getting you that job.
If you’re feeling less than confident about your IT skills, you can top with online courses, or take some classes at your local library to make sure you master the basics.
The best candidate for a job isn’t necessarily the best presented, but having the skills that let you show yourself off in the best light will help the panel see all the different ways you’re qualified for it, whereas if you’re not able to show your best side to the panel, the advantages of employing you will be obscured.
You need to be able to promote yourself through a CV and covering letter: look for advice online on how to confidently highlight your skills, and practice until it’s second nature, so when you see the perfect job you’ll know how to make yourself look just right.
You also need to be organised, politely confident and relatively well dressed: different jobs have different dress codes, some more formal than others but having a suit in the wardrobe that makes you feel confident will be suitable for every occasion. Try to rehearse interviews – with knowledgeable, confident people, not friends who will give you an easy ride – so when the time comes to sit in front of a real panel you’ll know how to answer their questions with a quiet, easy confidence.