If you’re talking about professional skills—then of course skills can be as wide and broad as the occupations for which a graduate can apply.
However, I’ve narrowed it down to three big-picture attributes, and those skills are just not crucial for the job search, they’re critical for life.
Optimism: You have a shiny new degree and enthusiasm to burn. But many other people have the same degree, similar or better results, and perhaps a network of established people to help them get ahead. It is inevitable you will face rejection from time-to-time and you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t disappointed. But, continue to demonstrate an optimistic attitude, no matter what. Optimism is a people magnet.
Maturity: Job search is inherently frustrating and you will likely be taken on an emotional rollercoaster. Anticipation, excitement, hope, disappointment and regret are normal emotions that go hand-in-hand with the job search. By keeping your cool in the face of rejection, you’ll keep it classy and show that you truly know how to act like a professional. Don’t lash out on social media, don’t be critical or rude. You missed out on one job, you don’t want to miss out on more through a lack of maturity. Respect and acceptance—both of which align closely with maturity, are key.
Preparation: The essential skill for all job seekers. You must prepare personally and professionally (and this brings in the attributes of respect as well). If you care how you are perceived by your employer (and you should), then always look your best. Dress to impress at interview—clean hair and clothes, no smoking odours, no heavy perfumes or after shave, and while it may be considered old-fashioned, cover your tattoos (some people just don’t love them as much as you). Be on time and be prepared professionally. Your resume needs to reflect how you want to be seen. Has it been copied from the internet and represent Joe Everyone? Or does it look and feel unique—like you? A nicely branded, achievement-focused resume can be difficult to write without experience. You may need help. Before the interview do your research—what does the company do? Have they been in the news—if yes, for what? Who is going to interview you? (See if you can find the interviewers’ names on Linked). Look at the job description—what do you have that they want? Be ready to articulate why you are the person they need and show that you know about the company.
What do you believe is a ‘must have’ essential skill post degree?