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4 months ago by Deborah Lewis

Important business skills for graduates

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No matter which career path you choose, there are certain business skills that every professional will need to have in order to succeed in their job role.

Some of these skills you may already possess from your time at university, while others are easily learned.

So, whether you’re gunning for a new job or your first pay rise, this list of useful skills can help you to seal the deal…

Negotiation

The skill of negotiating will come in handy in many professional situations, particularly when it’s time to secure a job offer, ask for a raise or deal with other important business matters.

Knowing how and when to be persuasive is vital, as it can help you negotiate for other job perks and benefits, such as a flexible work schedule, depending on the job.

This skill will also allow you to get your point across and understand different aspects of the job that you may otherwise be unsure of.

Time management

They say time is money, so you will need to maximise your productivity in order to thrive in the business world.

This is because the volume of work produced is often equally important as its quality. Line managers will want to see that you can get lots of work done to a high standard.

Developing time management skills will also prevent you from wasting energy on low-value tasks. Of course, this also ties into how well you can prioritise your time.

A way to develop this skill is to determine where to channel your focus. It’s also worth getting clear expectations from your manager and setting deadlines. Nothing feels better than checking off a task from your to-do list!

Public speaking

Public speaking allows you to establish yourself as a confident, likeable and approachable individual.

Whether you’re in front of a large audience or in front of a small team, your ability to communicate your message clearly and concisely is critical.

A way to develop this skill is to sharpen your speaking skills. Always remember that you’re the one in control of what you say, how you say it and how your audience will receive the information.  

It’s also worth asking your manager for feedback so that you can improve on future speaking presentations.

Research

You’ll want to come across as a serious and valuable employee, so it’s important to keep your pulse on changes in your industry.

There are ways to do this, including:

  • Joining industry groups and forums on social media
  • Setting up Google Alerts for news about competitors
  • Listening to industry broadcasts
  • Signing up for industry newsletters
  • Subscribing to trade publications
  • Attending industry conferences

This will not only show that you are very much invested in your role, but will give you the chance to show just how well-versed you are on what’s going on in your chosen industry.

Teamwork

Everyone loves a team player, and in fact, it’s usually one of the main skills that people include in their CV.  You will need to get along well with co-workers so that you can collaborate.

Some 78% of employers surveyed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers said teamwork is a top priority when assessing entry-level job candidates.

Developing this skill is fairly easy. Try to be a good listener and help to diffuse stress and tension when necessary. Also, don’t wait for co-workers to ask for help – offer it willingly.

It’s also a good idea to not view relationships with co-workers as transactional. You need to take a genuine interest in your peers by getting to know them at work – even if it’s just a friendly chat during your lunch break.