7 Essential Skills Every Graduate Needs in 2017

7 Essential Skills Every Graduate Needs in 2017

Mathilde Frot

Updated May 5, 2023 Updated May 05

Depending on your target role and sector, there may be some very niche industry- or job-specific skills that you’ll need on your résumé to even have a chance at getting an interview. This may include a relevant qualification and/or some prior experience. But what more general skills do today’s graduates need, to keep pace with the modern workplace, globalization and the challenges of digital transformation?

Having in-demand skills such as being able to code or grow an audience on social media could make a huge difference, perhaps making up for other gaps in your skillset, and helping you stand out from the horde of graduates competing for the same job.

So, do yourself a favor and read about these seven essential skills you should be focusing on!

1. Soft skills

Often a euphemism for ‘people skills’, soft skills have become increasingly in-demand, as companies move toward a more social and much less stuffy vision of enterprise. Teamwork, a strong work ethic and positivity are some of the qualities employers look for during interviews that can make a tremendous difference – and not just for communications-based jobs. In fact, soft skills are often particularly sought-after amongst those applying for technical roles.

2. Coding

Coding brings all the employers to the yard. To stand out from the crowd, now that software rules all business processes, knowing HTML and CSS will go a long way. To start 2017 with a bang, why not watch this short YouTube video on the value coding brings, or learn how to code for free?

3. Social media

From customer service to recruitment, the social media revolution has invaded most business processes. Organizations need employees who understand how to use social media effectively, to understand consumers, market products and services, and grow a positively perceived brand. Whatever your target role, understanding how to leverage various online platforms and channels to amplify your voice is likely to be a useful skill.

4. Self-motivation

With new technologies invading the workplace, and HR becoming more mobile and flexible, an increasing number of employees are working remotely and/or freelance. The traditional workplace as we know it, epitomized in the BBC’s 2001 sitcom The Office, will soon cease to be. You will need to be self-motivated to succeed, with the skills to work remotely, manage your own schedule, and collaborate using a range of communication tools.

5. Creativity and innovation

With the fast pace of change in technology, working processes and entire economies, businesses need to be creative and disruptive if they are to survive the fourth industrial revolution and reap the benefits of robotization. This is where you come in. As a fresh graduate, one of your biggest strengths is (or should be!) your capacity to be flexible, adaptable and forward-thinking. To be a real asset to a business, you need to be able to suggest new ways of doing things to improve efficiency, competitiveness and brand desirability.

6. Languages

In our increasingly globalized world, fluency in several languages is a huge asset, particularly if combined with international experience and an understanding of different cultural contexts. Having an international edge and multilingualism will only grow in importance in the coming years. So, what are you waiting for? Start developing your multilingual, multicultural office jargon!

7. Analytics

In our data-driven age, a solid understanding of analytics – particularly useful when evaluating performance, making predictions or understanding your client base – is a must-have skill in most careers. Whether you are working in marketing or engineering, your analytics skills will suggest to employers that you are a pragmatic and strategic problem-solver, able to derive important insights and turn data into concrete next steps.

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This article was originally published in January 2017 . It was last updated in May 2023

Written by

I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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