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You want to stand out from the rest of the pack in your first entry-level job. After all, you’re competing against thousands of other fresh graduates who are just like you – or at least that’s how it feels when you’re staring down your inbox every morning.
While choosing the skills to put on your resume, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stick with what you know instead of exploring new opportunities. Of course, some of the skills you already have are probably your best bet, but it can be helpful to think about which would set you apart from other applicants so that you land that perfect job.
These top skills to put on your resume as a fresh graduate will give you an idea of what employers are looking for in new employees and help you stand out in the crowd.
Applying as a Fresh Graduate: What to Expect
It’s tough being an entry-level job seeker. You’ll find yourself applying to jobs that are well below your skill level, and even worse, you may get rejected by companies who don’t think you have what it takes.
But this doesn’t mean you should give up! There are many ways for a fresh graduate to get noticed by recruiters. Here are some of the best skills for new graduates to put on their resumes:
1. Organizational skills
You know what they say, Time is money! If you want employers to see you as an asset and not just another cost, then it’s important that you demonstrate your organizational skills. You need to be able to manage your time well so that you can work efficiently and effectively.
A good way of proving this is by ensuring that your resume lists all of the projects or tasks you’ve successfully completed without delay.
If you’re still having trouble convincing potential employers about your ability to juggle multiple tasks, then consider including a project management software like Asana on your resume. It’ll show that you have excellent time management skills when it comes to completing tasks on time.
Employers often look for this skill as they want someone who can overcome a tough situation and improve it. If you have organizational skills, be sure to include them on your resume.
It’s not enough to just say that you’re organized; you must provide examples. It’s also important to showcase how organized you are when writing a cover letter. Keep any instructions from employers in mind and mention which details will help them see what skillsets would be beneficial for the position at hand.
2. Time management
In the context of a career, time management is the skill of making decisions on how you spend your time. It includes both dividing your time between competing activities, as well as prioritizing tasks.
When you’re just starting out and have many things on your plate, it can be difficult to determine how best to prioritize tasks and manage your time. As a fresh graduate, here are some ways you can showcase your time management skills:
- Prioritize what needs to be done first – Some tasks need more attention than others and should be given priority. There may not always be enough hours in the day for everything, but if you know that one thing is most important, then do that first.
- Know when to say no – Sometimes, there will be too much work or too many requests from other people, and it’s okay to say no. People will respect you for this and value your help more when they ask you for something.
- Ask for help – Whether that means asking someone else to do some of the work or help complete an assignment, knowing when to ask for assistance is also an important part of time management skills.
3. Research skills
Since the skills you learned as a student are typically not applicable in the workforce, it is essential to include research skills on your resume.
The specific skills you should include will depend on what type of research you conducted as an undergraduate or graduate student. You should also add skills related to other types of research if you have them.
For example, if you did any lab work, be sure to include laboratory skills, such as being detail-oriented and following instructions precisely. If you researched databases for your project, then be sure to mention database expertise.
If you read textbooks for class assignments, then list analytical reading skills. Remember that every skill you list will make a stronger impression than one that’s included less often.
4. Communication skills
Good communication skills are crucial for any job. It is important that you can clearly articulate your thoughts and ideas and that you know how to listen attentively.
But communication skills also go beyond just talking; it’s about being able to read the other person too. You should be sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues so that you know when it’s time for a change of subject or more silence.
Body language is an effective way of getting your point across without saying anything at all. Our body sends out subconscious signals to those around us, which they will interpret into something they understand.
People tend to assume they have strong self-esteem when someone speaks with confident body language and walks with their head held high. Similarly, if someone walks with their head bowed and eyes downcast, people may assume this person feels inferior or unsure of themselves.
Fluent English is required for nearly every position on earth these days, so proficiency in the English language is not optional. For example, call center employees need excellent customer service skills (including clear pronunciation), while engineering jobs require excellent reading comprehension and writing abilities.
The bottom line is that whether your goal is to work in sales, accounting, marketing or management, you’ll likely need some specialized language skills. A degree won’t get you very far without them.
5. Leadership skills
As a recent graduate, you may have developed several leadership skills throughout your time in college. These are valuable skills that hiring managers will be looking for. You should put these skills into your resume, even if you don’t think they’re relevant at this point.
For example, if you were president of your fraternity or sorority, list it on your resume and talk about what responsibilities this entailed. If you organized an event like Homecoming or Prom, list it on your resume and describe how much work went into organizing it.
If you’ve been involved with any student organizations during your time at school, use those experiences to illustrate leadership skills.
An employer will always want someone who is willing to take charge and get things done–someone who knows how hard-working environments function because they have firsthand experience with it.
Moreover, it shows initiative and willingness to learn, two qualities employers are always looking for. So don’t be shy; mention anything you did that demonstrated these skills in detail on your resume.
For example, if you were assigned team leader duties during your internship, list those down so the recruiter can understand where your strengths lie. And remember, while these two may seem unrelated, they have one thing in common: They both require immense amounts of organization and teamwork!
6. Analytical and problem-solving skills
In this competitive market, it is important for fresh graduates to show their skills. Employers are looking for people with analytical and problem-solving skills because these skills are necessary for any industry.
In a business, problems aren’t solved overnight – sometimes, they take weeks or months to fix. The sooner a problem is identified and acted upon, the less impact it has on productivity and profit margins.
One key skill related to problem-solving ability is analytical thinking. It is the ability to look at various aspects of a situation and come up with viable solutions based on that information alone.
This skill can be demonstrated through coursework and internships completed during college or through leadership positions held in extracurricular activities. If you have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, make sure you put these on your resume!
Employers want candidates who will solve problems rather than create them. They also want candidates who will bring fresh ideas and insights to the table. Therefore, do not just list analytical skills but also examples of how you used those skills to analyze data or resolve a particular issue at work.
For example, if your degree was in computer science but you worked at an ice cream shop during college, mention that you analyzed customer purchase patterns by day of week and time of day. Make sure that every skill listed has an example so that employers know exactly what type of analytical skill set they would get if they hired you.
7. Computer skills
It’s important that you are proficient with basic computer-related stuff, like Microsoft Word and Excel, since these programs are used frequently in many industries.
You should also consider learning HTML and CSS if you want a job designing websites or web pages. These skills will make you much more marketable than your peers who don’t know how to use these programs.
Also, these skills can help you find work even when others with less experience are turned away. If you’re looking for entry-level computer-related positions, be sure to list these computer skills on your resume!
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator)
- Knowledge of PHP and MySQL
- Experience with InDesign or QuarkXpress
8. Flexibility and adaptability
Graduates fresh out of college are just beginning their professional journey, and it can be difficult to know what skills are necessary for a successful career.
If you’re a recent graduate, don’t fret! There are plenty of skills that will help you stand out as a newcomer, and flexibility and adaptability are one of them.
These skills can mean the difference between getting hired and not getting hired. In today’s job market, where so many people have similar qualifications, employers often go for those who show they’ll be able to work well with others and fit into any situation.
These skills are hard to teach on paper, but you can demonstrate your ability by giving examples in your resume or cover letter of situations where you’ve demonstrated these abilities.
Flexibility and adaptability also translate into strong communication skills—being able to articulate yourself effectively when presenting ideas or listening carefully while someone else speaks shows you understand how important communication is on the job.
9. Stress management
Learning how to manage your stress is a vital skill for a fresh graduate. Stress can lead to poor performance, lack of creativity, and low productivity. The best way to manage stress is by having healthy outlets, such as exercising or meditating.
Here are some ways to show you can deal with stress as a fresh graduate:
- Keep a positive attitude. Focus on the positives in your life and be grateful for what you have. This will help reduce negative thoughts about yourself or others around you and keep stress at bay.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation. These practices help slow down your mind and bring awareness into the present moment, which will minimize your worries about past or future events that may not happen anyway.
- Exercise. It’s proven that regular exercise improves mental health and makes it easier to handle stressful situations. However, be careful not to overdo it because too much exercise can also lead to fatigue or burnout.
- Eat right. There is a connection between nutrition and brain function; eating balanced meals will make you more mentally focused and less susceptible to mood swings brought on by caffeine, sugar highs/lows, etcetera.
- Sleep well. Sleep well each night so you don’t get run down physically and mentally.
If you’re a fresh graduate looking for work, you know that competition is tough. You’ll need to stand out and prove that you’re a valuable asset to any company. One way to do this is by showcasing your teamwork skills.
Teamwork is one of the most important skills for fresh graduates because companies want their employees to work together towards a common goal. Employers look for people who are willing to help others and not just those who are selfish or self-serving.
Here are some ways you can highlight your teamwork abilities on your resume:
- Include a list of teams you’ve been part of at school. Explain briefly what the team does and how much responsibility you had in it.
- Talk about what made you an effective team member. What skills did you contribute? Were there ever times when your contributions were especially appreciated? Mention these examples briefly, but don’t spend too much time on them, or they won’t be seen as relevant to the job being applied for.
- If there was anything challenging about being part of that team, mention it briefly as well so that hiring managers will see how well-rounded you are (they like people with experience). Be sure to mention what strategies worked best and how they impacted other members’ performance.
How to Highlight These Skills on Your Resume
So, how do you showcase these skills in your resume as a fresh graduate? Here are some tips:
1. Mention the right keywords.
For your Skills section, include keywords relevant to the position you’re applying for. You can also include generic keywords that will be applicable to any position, such as effective verbal and written communication skills or the ability to work well under pressure.
2. Include any relevant internships.
Mention internships or other jobs where you were given responsibility for projects or initiatives in the Experience section of your resume.
3. Be detailed as possible.
In your Education section, include information about where you went to school, what degree you have, and when you graduated.
4. Mention supporting awards and recognitions.
If there are any awards or recognitions related to school-related activities that are worth mentioning, make sure they’re included on your resume, too!
5. Use a professional resume builder.
If you don’t know how to properly format your resume with all these skills, consider using an online resume maker.
The Bottom Line
The skills you list on your resume can either make or break your chances of landing that all-important first job. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by highlighting all of your transferable skills, including analytical and problem-solving skills.
These are skills that virtually everyone is looking for, so be sure to include them on any resume you write. This way, when the interviewer scans over it and sees that you have these important qualities, they’ll know right away that they want to hire you.
Dahlia Keen is passionate about helping people find meaningful work in a career they enjoy. A creative writer for resumekit.com, she is backed by years of experience writing resumes for diverse industries, and she has helped hundreds of professionals land their dream job.