Showcase your skills to get ahead

31 January, 2017

These days a strong academic record isn’t the only thing employers are looking for in a potential employee. Your next employer also wants to see the unique skills and attributes you can bring to the role and the organisation, and the application and interview process is the perfect time for you to showcase why you are the best person for the job.

Showcasing your skills can seem challenging, especially if you have not had any prior work experience to refer to. But work experience isn’t the only way to gain relevant qualities, skills or knowledge.

Gain an edge over the competition

Employers are looking for well-rounded candidates who are proactive, confident and engaged, who can work in a team, and who can learn and adapt to real-life situations as they happen.

If you have been involved in regular activities, the experiences you have gained can demonstrate your ability to rise to any challenge, to persevere and be determined, or to communicate effectively and take the lead – all attributes that are attractive to employers as they translate well to a work environment.

These activities may include volunteer work, significant group projects undertaken at school or at University/TAFE, amateur sports or theatre, and community work.

Stand out from the crowd

Skills you may have picked up during these real-life experiences that are valuable to your potential employer can include:

  • Title
    • Being part of a volunteer committee or sporting team, working together towards a common goal
    • What was your role in the team?
    • How did your role and contribution help the team achieve its goal?
  • Title
    Time management and reliability
    • Doing a work experience placement or internship
    • Asking for new or additional responsibilities at work
    • Developing a study schedule or a volunteering or workout routine and sticking to it
    • Managing your work, study and personal commitments
  • Title
    Problem solving
    • Undertaking extensive research as part of your studies
    • Dealing with complaints or conflict in your volunteer or sporting activities
    • How did you deal with these and solve the problem?
  • Title
    • Setting up your own community group or sporting team?
    • Proposing changes to a group you are part of to improve or change the way things are done
    • Organising a fundraising activity
  • Title
    Communication skills
    • Experience in writing complex assignment or essays as part of your studies
    • Making oral presentations as part of your studies or activities, or been part of a debating team
    • Have you had experience as a team captain, umpire or referee and had to communicate rules or strategy to your team?

When applying for jobs, make sure you consider all your life experiences outside the classroom, and the skills you’ve learnt as a result. This could be the deal maker in landing your dream job!