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【The Standard:Study in the UK】Hone your skills – slowly but surely



It has recently dawned on me just how important it is to help yourself as much as possible to stand out from the crowd in what is a very competitive job market. It used to be the case that having a master’s degree gave you a golden ticket to securing a top job. Nowadays, with so many well-educated people in Hong Kong, it is more about the soft skills, a profound willingness to develop oneself and an ability to solve problems in creative ways.


In this day and age, with intense competition on the job market, it is vital to take up some of your free time by developing key skills, such as typing and writing a top CV, as well as the soft skills…


Towards the end of my three year bachelor’s degree in the UK, I began to think more about self-development away from my subject area. Perhaps I began to think outside the box when others were intent on gaining a master’s degree or a PhD in the following years. I spent time enriching my knowledge of computer programs and improving my typing speed. Furthermore, I attended CV writing classes, career guidance sessions and lectures about how to succeed in business, picking up key tips along the way. I believe that the “information sponge” that I became certainly gave me a headstart when I returned to Hong Kong.


Soft skills

There are several “soft skills” which students need to appreciate to improve their chances of landing the top jobs. For instance, interpersonal skills and communicative competence are sadly overlooked by the youth of today. Many of my acquaintances, who are also employers, have complained that many of those who attend interview are unable to concentrate, listen attentively and maintain eye contact. This may be connected with modern technology and how dependent we have become on gadgets. All in all, it is certainly worth gaining work experience or an internship which provides on-the-job training and the chance to strengthen “people skills”.


A second “soft skill” – which employers certainly pay heed to – is leadership. At times, employees further down the hierarchy, such as receptionists and assistants, will have to draw upon their knowledge to take decisions in the absence of a superior, for example. So how to transform yourself from a follower into a leader? I have stated in previous articles how important it is to become active in clubs and societies at school and at university. Employers will look for signs of leadership. For example, being the captain of the school football team, organising and leading an extracurricular group and having a student government or committee role will all suffice.


All in all, it is vital to recognise the importance of becoming the “complete package” for employers, knowledge of technology and well-trained soft skills.

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