10 skills Nigerian graduates should seek to acquire to compete


Fresh out of school with a good grade, I thought I knew it all and had all the answers. I lost interest in learning and got comfortable in my zone. Fast forward some years after, I felt the world was leaving me behind and I was playing catch up.

Then I made a resolve to learn and things for better.

Listed below are skills I think every Nigerian graduate should learn. These skills will set you apart and will change your life forever.

COMMUNICATION

Learning to communicate effectively is the most important skill in a communication driven-economy, and it is one of the top skills that employers are looking for. The reason for this is because communication skills are crucial for virtually any task you undertake in any workplace.

The broad category of communication can be broken down into five components

Speaking – Your ability to use spoken words to convey a message clearly and concisely at work is paramount. To get a message you must ensure the receiver interprets the words to prevent confusion and conflict from arising.

Listening – You must understand that communication is intended to be a two-way street. You’re just starting out in your career and have a lot to learn. So, listen to people who are more experienced and more knowledgeable than you are. There is a reason why you have two ears and one mouth.

Reading – Your will get reveal types of messages and reports and your ability to read, digest and understand the context of the message is important.

Writing – You will be required to write letters and memos. You will write and respond to emails. You will be called upon to write a report, or plan a strategy at work. You should understand that correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are key in written communication. The reader will form an opinion of you, based on both the content and presentation, and errors are likely to lead them to form a negative impression about you. Start learning how to write now.

Non-verbalNom verbal cues include wall the communication between people that do not have a direct verbal translation. They are body movements, body orientation, nuances of the voice, facial expressions, details of dress, and choice and movement of objects that communicate. Your ability to communicate non-verbally will help you relay messages that are clearly understood by your intended receivers. You will also need to decide the body language of your co-workers.

SOFTWARE SKILLS

Graduates will need to know as core set of Microsoft office skills before getting a job. There are 3 popular basic software skills needed.

Microsoft Excel – This is arguably the most powerful tool and the most versatile of the Microsoft office products. Excel skills are needed for almost every profession. This software will help you gather data, analyse it, draw conclusions, and present these conclusions as intelligence to decision makers.

Microsoft Word – This is needed to write seaports, business letters, memos, and other correspondence.

Microsoft PowerPoint- Microsoft PowerPoint is an easy program to use and a powerful tool for giving a presentation. Some people understand messages easily when pictures and sounds are involved. Making use of software packages like Microsoft PowerPoint to communicate with your team will give them the opportunity to refer to you if they are unclear about things.

Well-being/Positive Psychology

Life is hard; getting as job, keeping your job, starting a business, maintaining friendships and relationships. Be prepared to fail and get disappointed through different phases of life. Do not be deterred. Practicing well-being is an underrated skill to navigate yourself through the times and bounce back faster.

PERSONAL BRANDING

Personal branding is the process by which you differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd by identifying your core values and articulating your unique value proposition – what sets you apart from others who do the same thing – then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.

The whole process of branding yourself is a lifelong effort that will involve your educational experiences, interests, hobbies, skills and community development.

In this age, companies are screaming prospective employees through Google searches and social media. Studies show that about 94% of users click on the first page of results, therefore it is in your best interest to Make sure your online identity portrays a positive image.

You can start by googling your name, check your social network privacy settings, and take down any photos of you partying, drinking or “unprofessional” behaviour.

Good social media skills are required to promote your brand. You should create a professional profile on all your accounts and distribute your stories across various media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube depending on where your interests lie.

SALES

Most graduates associate marketing with sales and think they are better off doing other jobs.

You need to understand that no individual can avoid sales.

SALES are about listening and understanding what another person needs, finding common ground, and finding a solution together.

You are going to sell for the rest of your life; sell yourself, well products, sell services, sell companies or your business, sell art arc. You must learn it.

CREATE AND FOLLOW A BUDGET

Your financial realities are about to change and not taking care of them will lead to your financial suicide.

To prevent this, you will need to create a Budget, follow through on how you spend your money and track your expenses.

Most millennials are not interested in creating a budget, and find the process boring or a waste of time. If you think so, then don’t be surprised when you find yourself broke again halfway through the month.

The benefits of creating a budget is a skill that one must constantly practice to perfect.

Their benefits include;

  • It will help you reach your goals faster
  • It will help you prepare for emergencies and unexpected expenses
  • It will shed more light on bad spending habits.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Although learning a new language is not an easy task, there are immense benefits in being bilingual.

BASIC CODING

“Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think” Steve Jobs in 1995.

The world is changing every day, and a line of software written in a garage in USA or India has the potential to wipe out thousands of millions of jobs which would have been done manually.

The basic knowledge of how lines of code create the digital world’s we explore every day is becoming a fundamental digital literacy.

Coding is hard, but learning the basics for some weeks will do wonders for your ability to troubleshoot and solve problems.

WORDPRESS AND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Even if you have a daytime you could have a side gig that would require you to have a website. This is where the knowledge of WordPress and SEO come in handy.

WordPress will require you to understand how the back end of websites work. Learning the basic functions will help improve your soft skills – research, experiment, decision making and problem solving.

SEO is also a great tool for anyone whose job measures success with clicks, likes and shares. If you have a personal website and want to execute a high-trafficking article or successful social media campaign; knowledge of SEO is key.

MASTER A GAME/SPORT

Learning how to master a game will improve you in the following ways:

  • How to lose – it will teach you how to lose because the more you play the more you’ll get comfortable with getting better which will only occur if you study your losses. This Is because losses are maps that point you to what you never knew before.
  • It will teach you how to learn
  • It will improve your ability to focus and concentrate
  • It will improve your awareness of your current environment
  • It will improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • It will improve your resource management ability.

Some games (online and offline) you can learn how to play include; Chess, Scrabble, Sudoku, Cashflow 101, Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis etc.

 

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