Are you about to enter the job market wondering what, if any, relevant skills you have to show prospective employers? It’s almost certain that, even with a limited work history, you actually possess a whole set of skills that are not only suited to the job you’re applying for but are considered highly desirable by employers.
These transferable skills encompass a broad set of skills that you acquire throughout your life that can be applied in many different scenarios, such as a new job or work environment.
We’ve been looking at what transferable skills are and how you can best ‘talk’ about them in your resume and interviews. In this instalment we’re looking at verbal and written communication.
Speaking with people is the primary method of imparting information, so it’s always been useful to be good at it. This doesn’t mean you have to be an excellent public speaker – though that would be good too - you just need to demonstrate that you can get your point across clearly and succinctly when talking.
When discussing your verbal communication skills with a potential employer, it’s best to not just talk about what you said and how you said it, but also who you said it to. Purpose, context and audience are all equally important, and conveying that you can recognise the information needs of a specific audience shows potential employers that you know this.
So, an example of how this could look on your resume is:
Verbal communication. A clear and concise speaker able to easily adapt to different audiences.
And then at the interview you can expand on this with something like this:
‘Over my time at university I have been required to call on my verbal communication skills during group assignments. This encompassed mediating between group members with different ideas, asserting my own ideas in a compelling way and presenting our projects to supervisors and peers who were seeing them for the first time.’
Don’t forget that the interview itself is also a way for you to demonstrate your verbal communication skills.
Speaking clearly and getting your point across without waffling or floundering will only confirm everything you are saying to the hiring manager.
Written communication is more than just handwritten messages. Writing emails counts too; which is likely to be very common in any job. Unlike verbal communication, writing does not have to allow for you to supplement it with facial expressions, pitch or tone.
This makes written communication a little more precarious. Someone might take something the wrong way simply because they misinterpret the tone. When discussing your writing ability, highlighting the fact that you can write simply and neutrally is the best way to go. Don’t forget to highlight essays, dissertations, reports, articles or any other piece of writing you have produced throughout your studies (or elsewhere) as evidence of your ability to communicate ideas and information effectively through your writing.
On your resume this can look like:
Written communication: Ability to write in a manner that ensures both clear meaning and a welcoming tone.
And, come an interview you could say:
‘Throughout my studies I contributed a number of articles to Grok, the online student newspaper, on a range of topics including climate change, federal university funding and Black Lives Matter. Articles had to be concise and compelling in order to convey points effectively to their audience of readers.’