For modern employers, hiring a potential candidate comes down to much more than just their degree; they are looking for how well-rounded you are and whether or not you have the skills and personality to fit into the role.

Whilst a degree can provide a great insight into a candidate’s academic levels, it is often the extra-curricular activities that give a greater indication into the type of person you are and what skills you possess – for example, a student who has regularly been involved in sport’s teams can often prove to be a strong team player.

Many students possess these skills, and they can be easily developed if not, but it is important to understand how to identify them in key situations, such as on a CV and cover letter or during an interview.

Why are they important?

With high levels of competition for most job openings these days, it is vital to find ways to stand out from the crowd and make your application more unique. Soft skills are a top priority for employers as they can be easily transferred into any role.

Skills such as leadership, communication and team work are increasingly in-demand in the workplace. Many new recruits are perhaps technically able, but lack the transferrable skills that are needed to succeed for example.

How can you develop?

It may seem like you need to rush off and start on a number of new hobbies so you can build up your skills, but picking one or two that provide you with expertise relevant to your chosen career can be much more useful.

Creating and organising a charity fundraiser, for example, can be an extremely useful experience to talk about when applying for a graduate management role. You can go into detail about how you communicated with your team and brought you plan into fruition, as well as how you overcame any setbacks along the way.

If you are unsure of where you are looking to take your career, getting out and about and developing skills can be great way to understand where exactly your interests and strengths lie. You may be surprised at how well you managed a group of people, or organised a sports team’s finances if placed in a position to do so.

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery Graduates and see how they can help get you started.