Starting your professional journey as a fresh university graduate can seem like attempting to solve a puzzle. In a world where entry-level job listings overflow with industry jargon and high expectations, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed. These requirements often communicate more about an employer’s values and the kind of mindset they appreciate. You’ll discover that “must-haves” can hint at certain attitudes, soft skills, and mindsets that employers highly value.
Decoding entry-level job requirements
“Experience in working with a large scope and spectrum of responsibilities.”
Translation: This company values those who can handle diverse responsibilities and are willing to take calculated risks when necessary. Have you ever taken initiative in a university project or were you in charge of an extracurricular club that asked you to juggle multiple tasks at once? You can highlight such activities in your CV and extract soft skills such as multitasking and problem-solving.
“The ability to analyze complex issues” and “Perform quality monitoring.”
Translation: Many university courses challenge students to analyze and solve increasingly complex problems. Was there a class that had you tackle a particularly difficult problem? Or maybe you keep track of the stock market in your free time? Beyond task execution, this employer values a new recruit who can identify an issue, seek improvements, and try to ensure the best possible outcomes.
“Be capable of working in a fast-paced, sales-driven environment.”
Translation: The employer seeks self-starters who can adapt to change and work independently. Working in sales can be demanding, and rejection is common. Resilience, developed through academic challenges, is essential for bouncing back from setbacks in this role. When applying for a position that asks this of you, underline your effective time-management abilities, and your experience with learning from feedback from professors or fellow students.
“Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain cross-functional relationships.”
Translation: Applicants that will excel, can seamlessly collaborate with people from other parts of an organisation to achieve a common goal. This requires flexibility, adaptability and stellar communication skills while working in a team with individuals from various functional backgrounds. During an interview, describe how you led a group research project and how you took charge of managing everyone’s input.
We recommend you reflect on academic and extra-curricular activities or experience you have gained from an internship or student job and the soft skills that were manifested. Many of these can be translated into a professional environment and help you overcome your first career hurdle.
Bear in mind that attitude plays a huge role during an application process as well. If you are excited about working in an industry and developing new skills that are necessary for a position, don’t hesitate to share your desire to learn and improve yourself in those areas!
Good luck finding your first position!