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What can UK graduates learn from this American report?

When you graduate, it’s easy to believe that you have learned all the skills you need to walk into your first job and excel in your career of choice.

But is that really the case?

The answer may surprise you. While technical skills are desired, it’s soft skills that are often found lacking in today’s graduates.

According to an American report (Today’s graduates: Worth their weight in gold?”) by HayGroup, “social and emotional competencies are vital to today’s future business success – but can be lacking in today's graduates.”

The survey found that 88% of HR Directors (HRDs) believed that graduates with soft skills are “worth their weight in gold” compared to a staggering 66% of new graduates that believe these type of skills hinder a jobs progress.

While technical knowledge may aid you in getting a task done, how you work with the people around you or solve problems is becoming increasingly more important to employers. HRDs believe that 83% of graduates that don’t develop emotional and social skills will never be high performers.

So, what does this mean for you?

While it’s brilliant that you’ve come away from university with technical skills, it’s also worth investing time in developing your emotional and social skills to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Here are a few basic tips:

•    Sharpen your communication skills.

The pressure of a new job and people you don’t know could affect your body language. Keep it in check my maintaining eye contact with your co-workers when speaking, proofreading emails and speaking with confidence.

•    Network

Once you’ve got your communication skills in check, you’re ready to network. Having a chat with those that work around you not only allows you to feel a little more comfortable, but could teach you a few things as well!

•    Manage conflict with a smile.

It’s easy to get frustrated and sulk at a situation you aren’t keen on, but it isn’t good for your work or you colleague’s. Taking bad news on the chin is a good skill to develop your leadership qualities. However, if something has really affected you, speak to your supervisor instead of complaining to anyone that will listen.