Once upon a time, when only the minority were able to study at university, good grades were enough to make you stand out from your peers. However, in this day and age, when an ever growing number of people are university educated, are good grades still enough to land you that dream job?
There’s no denying that grades are important. Throughout your life, when applying for different jobs, you will be highlighting your academic success. There are entry requirements to get into university in the first place, grades you have to achieve in order to get a great placement in industry and when you leave university, your grades will be a large focus on your resume. Interviews will allow you to expand further on your academic success but it is very important not to underestimate the power of your personality too.
Whilst grades are important, if you are up against another candidate who has also achieved the same qualifications as you, how are you going to make sure you stand out? Along with academic achievement, employers will be considering how you will fit within their organisation and it’s up to you to make sure that you can demonstrate that you’re a good match.
A recent study by Universum, investigating how CEOs view talent and recruitment, reports that personality and communication skills are ranked significantly higher than academic achievement.
Indeed, this sentiment is echoed by Sir Richard Branson who revealed, “The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner. Personality is key.”
Branson goes on to say, “Great grades count for nothing if they aren’t partnered with broad ranging experience and a winning personality. “
So, what can you do to make it clear that there is more to you than simply good grades?
Get Active — Whilst studying at university, get involved in extracurricular activities. Join clubs and societies, engage in social events, stand for president. Don’t be afraid to mention these on your resume, during interviews and definitely don’t shun them as unimportant and just for fun. These activities teach you valuable transferable skills and can be used as examples alongside your academic achievements. They speak volumes about your personality by highlighting your interests, passions and how you interact with people.
Volunteer — Volunteering and undertaking placements and internships will show an employer that you are motivated and committed. Someone who goes out there and ensures they get valuable experience, or supports a cause they are passionate about, is very attractive to an employer.
Blog — Do you have an interest that others might like to read about? Blog about it! Blogging is a great way to get your personality across and also to develop your writing skills. Along with blogging tends to come experience with social media which is a big draw to employers.
Be creative — Don’t be afraid to get creative with your resume. Obviously there are certain guidelines that should be acknowledged when writing a professional document like a resume, but there is no harm in getting a little creative if you’re that way inclined. With so many resumes landing on an employer’s desk, making yours distinctive is a plus.
So, studying hard at university to achieve the best grades possible is a given and will almost certainly aid you in your career but you also need to be thinking about what makes you an individual and sets you apart from the crowd. If you think you’re a good fit for an organisation, shout about it, let it be known. Chances are, if you think you are, the employer will agree with you.
by Nicola Vivian