Though the post-pandemic future is still up in the air, one thing is for certain: organisations will always need great talent, so there are plenty of skills that jobseekers can look to develop during lockdown to become even more hireable. Optimum Recruitment has collated some of the skills you should focus on honing during this period – regardless of the role you’re looking for:

Digital literacy – In our increasingly online world, almost every role requires a level of digital ability, so upskilling in this area will help cement yourself as a great candidate. There are plenty of free or low-cost online courses that can help you focus on key areas, including general computer skills; literacy on industry-specific software; or carrying out online research.

Critical thinking – This is a key component of problem solving, and allows you to objectively review information in order to determine the best possible way to proceed. The ability to Identify challenges and then find creative or innovative solutions makes a candidate highly desirable to a potential employer. You can hone your critical thinking skill with practice. When faced with information, ask questions and investigate, be healthily sceptical, and get a clear understanding of the challenges. Practice active listening – the ability to listen to others’ points without thinking about your own response – so that you’re more easily able to process information.

Communication – Being a good communicator is key, particularly as we build back to a ‘new normal’ that may include much more remote working. The skills required to communicate effectively online differ from those required to get your point across to people in the same room. There are plenty of online communications courses that provide a great foundation, but you can also practice mock interviews or mock meetings with friends online, or try writing out emails and then running them through a tone checker such as Grammarly to see if you’re coming across the way you intended to.

Time management – Being efficient and meeting deadlines is integral to any role, particularly if you’re likely to be juggling multiple priorities at once. If you know that time management is a development area for you, then start by creating a ‘to-do’ list and then prioritising it in order of urgency. Then block out your diary with a schedule of when you’ll do each task and stick to it. This means resisting the urge to procrastinate and limiting distractions, like reading every email the second it pops up. Avoid multitasking (as it means you’ll likely do both things badly rather than one thing well!) and take regular breaks away from your computer to decompress.

Resilience – Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, the ability to thrive in tough situations will remain a skill that employers will covet. This doesn’t mean never making mistakes, but instead recovering from your setbacks and making the best of the challenge. Resilience also means not crumbling under pressure and, when things really do become too much, speaking up and creating a plan of action rather than letting things get on top of you. Building this skill isn’t easy and it takes time, but mindfulness (paying more attention to the present moment) can be a good place to start. There are great apps to help you hone your mindfulness, including Headspace and Calm.

Willingness to learn – No one is perfect, and we all have areas of development. Accepting this, and being willing and eager to learn and grow, will make you much more appealing to a potential employer. If you’re applying for a job that you don’t currently have all of the skills for, but you make sure to speak about how dedicated you are to continuous development, it’ll go a long way to proving you’re the right candidate.

If you’d like to know more about which skills will make you a highly desirable candidate, the team at Optimum Recruitment are happy to chat to any jobseeker about your aspirations. Please do get in touch to find out how we can help.



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