It’s all fun and games until the buscade ends. Right until that moment, the reality of graduation hasn’t really settled in: it’s something that doesn’t seem possibly, after three years of living a 9-5 routine of studying, coffee, more studying, more coffee. Then – once the post-celebration dust settles – a lot of graduates find themselves in the panic of ‘what to do next’. Those who don’t even have the benefits of part-time work experience – which can help boost employability prospects – might be even more miserable.
However, the idea that graduates do not graduate with fundamental, and important, job skills is false. Graduates deal with a lot throughout their degree: deadlines, disappointment, clients, management – the reality is that graduates come out of their degree with an impeccable grasp of leadership qualities that any company would be happy to invest in. Here are just five of the leadership skills that graduates take on with them to the working world.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and subsequently, was not built by one person! Knowing how to delegate is an important skill for any leader to have – not only does it ensure that the best resources and skills are applied to do the job, not just to get their name to the bottom line. In university, the same applies – those group projects that everyone hates? They’re a fantastic way to hone your delegation skills, making sure that each aspect of the task is given to the best person for the job.
Being a leader means that a certain amount of importance will fall onto your shoulders to ensure that whatever project or task is being handled will be performed to the best of everyone’s abilities. Keeping an eye on what your people are doing is important: it allows you to see if your team is functioning optimally, and if it isn’t, you’ll need to take steps to rectify it. By lifting the weight of the overall project on your shoulders, you take the pressure and the worry off of the other team members, allowing them to complete their parts of the project appropriately. In university, you have to take responsibility – it’s only you who will be looking out for you – and over three years, that can translate into something any manager would be happy to hire.
3. Communication skills.
This should be obvious – being a leader has a certain amount of guidance involved in it. You have to tell people what to do, no matter what telling them actually entails! People will rely on you to explain their role and their task to them, even if it’s self-explanatory, and guidance throughout the project isn’t an option, it’s a necessity! In university, a lot of your course will be about conveying information in a variety of ways, whether that’s through text to your tutor, or through a presentation through your classmates.
4. Decision making.
Leadership is about taking charge and driving forward a task or job until it’s complete, no matter how complicated the task is. In a lot of cases, this means sitting down and taking the executive decision to organise and drive forward the team, which also includes making decisions – a lot of decisions. If something isn’t working, someone needs to figure out why and then find a solution. If you were always the one to see your project stagnating, and try to get ahead of the problem to fix it, this is definitely a skill that you possess, and one that’s incredibly important in the business world.
That also goes for courses where you have to come up with the topic, and execute it. How many of those have you completed in three years? That is a lot of experience gained all at once.
You might be asking yourself why we’re putting ‘teamwork’ on the same list as ‘delegation’. The thing is, being a leader is a little bit of both. By all means, pass on those tasks better done by someone else to someone else – but leadership also means taking on and doing your share of the work, too. A leader who lets their team do everything, and then takes credit for it at the end, isn’t much of a leader; a leader who does the same work as the rest of their team, and shares credit equally, is.
This all goes back to those group work sessions, too. If you’re already used to working with, and commanding, people in group work sessions, you’re already equipped for a leadership role at any company.
Of course, having good leadership skills isn’t necessarily the way to a good job. For that, you do need some work experience, no matter how small – that’s why working a part-time job during your studies is a quick and easy way to raise your employability, and make hiring managers sit up and take notice. If you’re struggling to show off your leadership skills, why not add some experience to your CV by applying to one of over 1,000 postings.