Skilling up with the right qualifications

The first full-time job out of university is a very special experience for most recent graduates. Having spent several years on their academic studies, as well as tens of thousands of pounds, the first step on the career ladder feels like a watershed moment; a chance to start earning and applying skills that have been hard earned. Whether in a job related to their degree or a completely different field, most can’t wait to get started on career progression.

A difference in expectation

One thing that has become apparent in the last few years is that there is a gulf between the skills that companies need and the skills that recent graduates actually possess. Due to the academic and theoretical nature of many courses, new candidates are far less prepared for the corporate world than business leaders expect them to be. This means time and resources are being diverted from pressing tasks in order to upskill and give new starters a grounding in business.

Communication skills represent one of the key mismatches between graduates’ and employers’ expectations. For businesses to succeed, it’s critical that their employees are able to form professional networks, communicate effectively, progress collective workflows while working through individual tasks and keep all team members up to date to prevent information silos. All of these abilities layer seamlessly to ensure smooth running of the business. Negotiation and persuasiveness are also highly desirable, as is the ability to think creatively around problems and develop innovative solutions to keep workflows progressing.

Proving the difference

For a long time, companies have wanted ‘the right person to hit the ground running’, but with such a mismatch between the skills companies want and the skills graduates have, how do you not only develop the right skillsets but prove to employers that you are exactly what they need?

A potentially very attractive option is the University of York’s suite of Leadership and Management Masters courses. Developed with the world-class academics and professionals, the courses teach business-critical skills such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem solving and insights into professional development. As all teaching is delivered 100% online, you have the freedom to learn when and where you like. There’s no need to give up your current job and salary and you can apply what you learn to your career straight away. Also, as each section is provided on a pay-per-module basis, you can gain a degree from a prestigious Russell Group university without a significant initial financial outlay.

While many recent undergraduates may believe they have the necessary skills to be proficient in the corporate world, it can take several years before they match up to the standards that businesses require. A Masters degree that specialises not only in developing business-critical skills but also embedding effective teamwork and an understanding of leadership and development could soon make you invaluable in the workplace.

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