In Monday’s blog, we introduced some of the key skills employers are looking for, and how you can demonstrate these. Today we’re looking at time management (organisation), flexibility and responsibility/reliability. Read on to find out more …
Time management (organisation)
- Time management is crucial in the workplace, and employers want to know how you cope with multiple tasks and deadlines. During your studies, you’ll no doubt have had weeks when essays were due in at the same time. How did you plan for this? Did you have a system for prioritising tasks? With so many exams to study for, did you devise a schedule for planning your revision?
- Juggling your studies, a part-time job and a volunteering role takes a lot of planning! How do you organise your time to make sure that everything gets done? Perhaps you set yourself goals or have a to-do list (or a few lists!) to make sure you stay on track. Use specific examples, such as setting aside chunks of time for different tasks, or using your Outlook calendar to track deadlines. These are great ways to demonstrate how you organise your time effectively.
- A common interview question is something along the lines of: “Describe a time when you’ve had to manage multiple deadlines?” Give examples of when you have tackled a project over a period of time and how you approached the planning and
- implementation of the task, e.g. coursework, dissertation, summer work placement, setting up a new society on campus etc. Explain step by step what you did, your methods for organising your time (as in point 2) and the end result.
- A final pointer – if you’re invited to an interview or assessment centre, make sure you arrive in plenty of time!
Adaptability and flexibility
- Adaptability in this context simply means your ability to adapt to a new role or task. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can adapt to a change in situation quickly and positively. Think about your time at QMUL – did you need to make last minute changes to a project or presentation? Did you step in and chair a society meeting to cover for someone? What did you do to prepare yourself for these situations?
- In your part-time job, perhaps you were asked to move into a different team to help on a new project. Did you need to learn new skills quickly? Did you use software you’d not used before? Employers want to see that you are flexible and can cope well with change.
- If you’re an international student, studying in the UK alone demonstrates your ability to adapt to a new culture, language and environment. How did you prepare for this change?
Responsibility and reliability
- You can probably think of occasions when you have been given positions of responsibility at QMUL – e.g. project leader, football team captain, president of the geography society. In fact, any time when you have been trusted to manage a task/project/group gives you a great example to use in an interview or application.
- Think about what your role was, and what it was you had to achieve, for example working as a till supervisor in your local supermarket means you had to oversee colleagues, follow financial processes and ensure the smooth running of the checkout area.
- Training or coaching others clearly demonstrates that you held a responsible role, whilst also highlighting your leadership skills too. You may have taught colleagues how to use a software package, or led a kids’ sports club as part of your voluntary work. Perhaps you trained new cashiers in your Saturday job at the local supermarket. There are plenty of great examples you could use here.
- Demonstrating reliability involves showing that you can be relied upon/trusted to complete tasks, meet deadlines and perform your job well.
The above are just a few examples of how to demonstrate the skills required by an employer. Remember, when applying for a role, to always read through the job description and provide evidence of each skill they’re looking for. For more information on applications, see our website.
Look out for part 3 where we’ll be exploring leadership, decision-making, initiative and creativity.