Powerful people skills

With very few weeks to go until I hand in the final assessments of my degree, I’ve been saying yes to any opportunity which might improve my skills and CV, ready for the graduate job-seeking process. So before Easter I attended a Careers Service Skills for Success session on ‘Powerful people skills’ run by Nabarro, a big law firm with offices based in Sheffield. I wondered if the session would be tailored towards those heading for legal careers, but many of the students there weren’t interested in careers in law and the people skills discussed could be used in any job.

Skills for Success sessions are designed to be interactive and involve working in teams to complete tasks, which is great experience for assessment centres.  The first task we were set was to draw desirable people skills onto an image of a t-shirt. This got us talking about the different people skills we thought were important, such as the confidence to speak up and make ourselves heard but also the need to listen. 

Next, we watched a short role-play based on an interview for work experience. We discussed the visual, verbal and vocal aspects of the interviewee’s behaviour, which included things like eye contact, tone of voice and pace of speech.  A lot of these things might sound like common sense, but they are easily forgotten in a stressful situation such as an interview. Their advice was to make an extra effort to check how you might be coming across to your interviewer, as first impressions are very important. 

Something that was also discussed was personal integrity and building a personal brand. An important aspect of this is keeping tabs on your online image, such as your profile on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Employers may search for your name through these websites, so it’s important to either make your profile private or ensure it represents your desired ‘personal brand’. We were also told to ask friends, relatives or teachers to describe us (and prepare for honesty!). This question is often asked at interviews and any constructive criticism could be worked on. 

Finally, we discussed how to manage differences and agreement in conversation. We were shown a scale of communication going from aggressive to assertive to passive/submissive, with assertive being the ideal level. One useful technique is using an “I” statement for example, “When you do ___, I feel ___”. This is a great way of getting your opinion across assertively without sounding too aggressive or passive. 

The session was fun and informative, and the skills I learnt could be used in day-to-day life as well as in interviews or with colleagues in the world of work. 

Emily W (Student Blogger)
Careers Service

Careers Service

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.