COMMERCIAL AWARENESS AND IMPROVING BUSINESS PRACTICES
“We actively encourage our students to research their target industry to develop a commercial understanding and a big-picture focus of the challenges an employer is facing – so they are better placed to communicate how they can actively contribute to improving business performance,” says Sandra Scannell, Head of Employer Engagement at Queen’s.
Courtney Ward, a Quality Team Leader at Randox adds: “Commercial awareness means having a real understanding of all the key companies operating in a specific industry or sector, a knowledge of the different products that those different companies sell, what services they offer. We demand graduates who have done their market research, and know who the key players are in their area.”
EMBRACING WORKPLACE SYSTEMS & TECH
“Even outside the tech sector, employers are demanding graduates who can embrace innovation to maximise performance,” says Sandra. “Queen’s students not only understand, but they ‘live’ technology.”
Dermot Murray, Senior QA Engineer at Version 1 says: “In terms of innovation and bringing a fresh perspective to companies, Queen’s graduates are at the forefront of theoretical thinking. We demand graduates who can apply this knowledge into the real world and be the catalysts for leading change.”
THINKING LATERALLY: PROBLEM SOLVING & CREATIVITY
“Problem-solving abilities are essential in virtually any graduate role,” says Sandra. “Employers want to know graduates can think strategically to tackle challenges and that they can use creative thinking to develop innovative solutions.”
Leona McGirr, a Team Leader at Fusion Antibodies says: “We want graduates who can think ahead and see the bigger picture; see how one little thing can impact another. It’s about having a different viewpoint and a different perspective on a problem. That’s key.”
WORKPLACE CULTURE: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND RESILIENCE
“In the global graduate job market, employers value cross-cultural sensitivity and emotional intelligence,” says Sandra.
“Employers want to know that graduates can respond well to change, and that they have the ability to identify and deal with their own emotions and to recognise and understand the feelings of others.”
Rebecca Sinclair, a Student Talent Advisor at EY’s London office says: “Emotional intelligence is particularly valued in professional services, in the roles that you’re working with clients, and you’re building those relationships with clients. We value graduates with that emotional intelligence skill, who are able to collaborate really well with colleagues or with clients and build positive relationships.”
FUTURE LEADERS: INFLUENCING, PERSUADING AND TEAMWORK
“The mark of a leader is getting true buy-in from colleagues, clients and bosses. It involves good communication, persuasion and negotiation – but ultimately, it’s about graduates with the ability to sell their vision for the future,” says Sandra.
Viktorija Mikalauskaite, a Senior Associate in the Legal Department at FinTrU says: “Influencing is a combination of communication and persuasion and negotiation, but it also involves confidence, which is an extremely important factor. We value graduates who can flex their communication style, according to their audience.”
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