Skills you need to have! Skill 2: Communication

These days, when thousands of people apply for a single job, it is even more important to stand out amongst the crowd. Most applicants may have the basic qualifications or knowledge required to perform a job. Which brings us to the big question...what are recruiters looking for in addition to qualifications and knowledge?

One answer is soft skills. From a recent study, communication skills ranked among the top qualities that employers look for from recent graduates.

So what are these skills? Let's go through them one by one. We have linked specific courses and resources to each of them.

1) Oral communication and listening skills

2) Written communications

3) Presentation skills

4) Negotiation skills

1) Oral communications and listening skills

Oral communication and listening skills are critical at any job. You may need to update your manager on your daily progress, interact with your team, work with multiple teams. In this process, not only is it important to communicate clearly and effectively, it is also important to listen closely to other people, take notes and contribute to the conversation. This indicates to people that you are diligent and increases your credibility with the team and company.

Pro Tip:

One often overlooked tip is to prepare in advance of any meeting. You can take 5-10 minutes prior to the meeting to quickly outline some of the top points you want to cover, and any data that supports it. Make sure to write these down in a notebook, and take this to the meeting. That way, even if you forget a point or the conversation goes a different route, you know what you want to discuss.

How to get better:

(1) Try being an MC for events. Take inspiration from events conducted online (you can find hundreds of free events for inspiration on Eventbrite)

(2) Try to attend public speaking workshops and practice those skills in class or in a public speaking club. Remember, if there's no public speaking club in your college, you can always create an informal club!

(3) Get comfortable using the STAR framework when asked specific questions at work. You can adjust how you answer based on your manager and team's feedback as well.

(4) Get regular feedback from your club, your team or your manager!

2) Written communications

If you have never written a formal email before, you'll get used to it very quickly in your first few weeks at work. Many workplaces have dedicated training for work emails in the first week. Remember that you should always check spelling and grammar, keep your email concise and short, use paragraphs liberally, and avoid the use of internet slang and emojis.

3) Presentation Skills

You may be asked to present a project, idea or your work during a meeting. You can easily make much more impactful presentations by following presentation best practices and taking a small course to improve your presentation skills.

How to get better:

Presentation Skills Course - Coursera

4) Negotiation Skills

Learning to negotiate is a nuanced art. All of us negotiate almost on a daily basis. For example, we negotiate our salary with an employer, negotiate raises and promotions. We negotiate in the workplace to get more people to buy in to our ideas, and even at home when we're buying new services and goods.

Learning to negotiate well can help you improve outcomes not just in the workplace but at home as well. Here's a free coursera course you can take on negotiations.

How to get better:

Introduction to Negotiations - Yale University

Read our other 'Skills you need to have' posts in this series:

1) Skill 1: Excel and Powerpoint

2) Skill 2: Communication

3) Skill 3: Money Management

Do you have questions for us? Chat with us on facebook and we'll answer your questions!

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