Understanding the importance of skills
So, your university days are almost up and the light at the end of a very, very long tunnel is starting to appear in the distance. However, you’re also realising before you get there, and before the real world (and graduate debt) stares you straight in the face, you need a job as soon as is realistically possible, your CV looks pretty sparse and, well, it’s all a bit terrifying.
The IT industry is booming, everyone knows that – but how can you get a piece of such a lucrative industry? Don’t know your Linux from your OS Leopard? Think rack server is an Andy Murray / Tim Henman special? Fear not, there are plenty of roles in the IT industry that don’t require extensive knowledge of the business, although of course it helps. Whether you’re from a technology-related course or not, if you have drive, passion and ambition – plus the usual people, communication and organisation skills – you can bag yourself an exciting, dynamic role in IT.
Yeah, that’s great. But you trawl through graduate recruitment sites daily, your CV is littered with part-time roles and the odd week of work experience, and you don’t really know where to start to get that all-important foot in the door.
We’re honing in on that well-loved phrase again… transferable skills.
What do businesses want?
Well, let’s have a look at one.
King of Servers is a start-up based in the North West. As the company is rapidly expanding, it is looking for ambitious graduates to share in its success. The company sells servers to businesses – but before you dig out your “IT-hardware for Dummies” manual, you’ll be pleased to hear that a degree in IT is secondary to the skills King of Servers is most passionate about.
The company lists attributes like “customer focussed in all actions, drive, self-motivation, positivity, determination, flexibility and people skills” as core requirements for candidates. You’ll need to be analytical, great at closing a deal, passionate about success and proactive in developing yourself and the business. Such skills don’t require a first-class degree in IT. And, best of all, this isn’t the only company that puts people skills before degree titles and work experience. For these types of qualities, you’ll find you’ve probably already nailed the skills in any part-time sales jobs, call centre work and even supermarket jobs you’ve had.
Albie Attias, the director of King of Servers, says himself: “Personal qualities like good business sense, greatcommunication and organisational skills count for more than formal qualifications as training will be provided on the job. This is not a company for shy, retiring types. An ideal future employee will be self-confident and comfortable dealing with people both in writing and verbally. They will have the ability to prioritise workloads and work calmly and accurately under pressure.”
Where do I start?
So, now you know there’s a whole world of graduate job possibilities out there, where do you start looking? Well, it’s back to the job sites. Whether you want to send prospective applications to small, emerging companies who need a hand, or want to stick to applying to adverts, the lesson of this story is don’t get too caught up in job titles. Instead, focus on the job description, personal specification and essential skills. You might never have thought to apply for such roles as ‘business development’, ‘e-commerce assistant’ or ‘account management’. But these roles can see you doing all sorts, such as networking at events, writing blogs, managing online products, meeting with prospective clients and even social media co-ordination.
Often, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the job itself, as in, what you’ll be doing on a Monday morning, you’ll find yourself thinking: “I can do that, I’ve done this before!” And that is awesome. Before you know it, you’ll be proving yourself in the world of business, climbing the career ladder, ticking off skills, knowledge and learning-curves, progressing, and actually making it in the real world.
Now all you have to do, when you’re ready, is apply…
King of Servers is a B2B provider of servers, hardware and IT peripherals.