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Hybrid working: starting in the workplace
Hybrid working: starting in the workplace

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2.1 Developing and documenting your skills

While technical ability can be acquired through training courses, formal work experience or part-time jobs, soft skills can be developed through voluntary work, extracurricular activities, and personal projects. Be sure to document these, identifying detailed examples of when you have showcased each skill. If you can incorporate numeric information, like a budget you managed, or include statistics that illustrate the impact of your skills, this evidence will back up your claims.

In the video below, three contributors from iungo Solutions – Zainab (a recent graduate, now a technical content analyst), Ploy (an HR and recruitment executive); and Jessica (co-founder and chief executive) – talk about their experiences of looking for employment, skills development, the recruitment process, and the importance of being proactive.

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Your CV should demonstrate how you take action to develop new knowledge and skills, whether that is during your studies or in your spare time. Activities such as maintaining a specialist blog, doing voluntary work, and developing job-relevant hobbies will help to demonstrate your lifelong learning mindset.

Nick van Dam is an advisor, author, speaker and researcher on corporate learning and leadership development, with a keen interest in how individuals learn and develop within organisations. In a lecture he gave in 2016, he discussed six essential elements of a lifelong-learning mindset:

  1. Focus on growth

  2. Become a serial master

  3. Stretch

  4. Build a personal brand

  5. Own your development

  6. Do what you love and discover your Ikigai [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] – your ‘reason for being’.

(The full lecture, ‘Learn or Lose’, is available on YouTube if you are interested in exploring this topic further.)

Over the decades, the skills required by employers have evolved, as client expectations, technology, and how people interact with their environments have also evolved. Many employers are looking for people who demonstrate lifelong-learning mindsets by moving from deep competency in one specialist area (sometimes described as a T-shaped skill set) to developing deep competency in several areas (sometimes described as an M-shaped skill set).

Your lifelong-learning mindset could be demonstrated by, for example, your engagement with social media accounts, small side-businesses, or part-time volunteering/charity work. You need to show how you meet employer requirements but also how you try to develop yourself.

Finally, don’t forget how things have changed in the hybrid workplace. In the video above, Jessica Leigh Jones gave advice about key skills for work-from-anywhere organisations. Mentioning key hybrid skills such as organisation, independent work, experience of working virtually, and key digital skills could all make a huge difference to your application.

Activity 3 Which skills do employers want?

Timing: 10 minutes

Read the UCAS webpage What do employers look for in graduates? (UCAS, 2022) and the Prospects article How to write a CV (Prospects, 2022).

Which aspects of your CV need to be updated to really showcase the skills that employers want? Consider how you can ensure that your CV is succinct. You do not have to describe your experience in detail, according to Indeed a CV should be around one to three pages, depending on your experience. The more experienced you are, the longer the CV. (Indeed, 2022).