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26/03/2013

The 6 Critical Skills That Will Get You Hired in 2013.

These days, employers don’t just look at your academic degree certificate, but what you bring to the table. It’s one of the reasons why fresh graduates usually have a hard time getting the first job. Here are six hot skills that will make you to be greatly valuable and be top in the minds of employers.

1. IT and Social media skills.
Being IT savvy doesn’t mean that you have to be a fast class programmer. Far from that. What it does mean is that you can use the computer comfortably to do basic operations; That you can use the computer to do basic office functions, to use basic office packages like MS word, spreadsheet, excel and MS PowerPoint. Additionally, as more and more company brands are using social media to promote their brands, being aware of the ongoing social media trends will set you apart in many ways.

2. Foreign language skills.
Can you communicate in a language other than English? Then you would be a hot commodity, especially if
you are looking for a job within the tourism, hotels and hospitality industry, or looking for a job with a company that has a regional presence in East and Central Africa. Some of the most in demand languages include French, Kiswahili, German, and mandarin- a Chinese dialect.

3. Leadership skills.
Can you lead a team? Can you inspire others? Can you solve complex problems quickly and justly? Half the time as a manager, you will be putting down fires, solving employee issues and resolving all manner of scandals that might prop up in the company. It is therefore a no brainer that an employer would want to hire those who have gone out of their way to show leadership abilities. Leadership skills can be shown by your extracurricular activities, the volunteer activities you have taken part in, student leadership positions you have held, and any other innovative initiatives you helped launch.
4. Data Analysis.
We live in an age where a lot of information is being churned. Making sense of the data is the harder part. Can you make meaningful insights from all the data that is being churned out? How will the data affect the company’s bottomline? This obviously favours those with a mathematical/quantitative background or discipline.
5. Sales and Marketing.
Can you sell? Of course selling does sound like a dirty word to many youth, but it needn’t be so. It doesn’t have to be about selling a product in the street. All it means is can you convince others to buy into your idea, service or product? How effectively can you pitch your now ideas. How can you convince customers to buy a product or a service?

6. Communication skills.
Proficiency in both oral and written English, and to some extent Kiswahili, will mark you apart. This is because language is the tool you use to pass across your ideas, and no matter how talented you are, if you can’t make people understand what is in your head, by way of writing or talking, then you will likely not go far in the corporate ladder.

In summary;
It is unlikely that no matter how talented one is, they would be proficient in all the above 6 skill areas. However, by being excellent in two or three areas, and average on the rest, they would likely be on top of many employers’ minds.

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