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Are you work-ready? Stand out from the candidate crowd with these five attributes

It’s no secret: breaking into the job market is tiresome work. The mountain of unanswered applications may even leave you disheartened and wondering just what constitutes the perfect candidate.

But it is simpler than you might think. To be the best entails constant improvement, self-inspection and doing your research. It means building on your skills and being committed to improvement and moving forward. No one stumbles into their dream role accidently and everyone you admire or wish to emulate was once stood exactly where you are right now.

Luckily, many of the skills we will talk about today are already in your toolbox as international students and graduates. However, we are all works in progress and any additional skills or advice is always welcome, regardless of where you are in your journey.

So without further ado, here are five unmissable attributes found in five-star candidates that we spotted recently on Study International. Make sure you draw attention to them in your next interview…

International perspective

We live in a time of globalisation and for students armed with an international education, the world truly is your oyster. Even the network of friends you’ve built up over your studies can become invaluable contacts as you progress in your careers.

In a practical sense, an international education lends itself to a broad perspective and knowledge of the world, its markets and its political comings and goings. However, your advantage goes further still: as English is so often the lingua franca of business, the language skills you have picked up will also prove key in securing that first job back home.

Strong communication skills

A familiar feature on CVs everywhere, strong communication skills are as essential as they are ubiquitous. In fact, according to a report by Bloomberg, communication skills are among the most cited industry requirements. So, coupled with your expertise in the English language, you should be in good stead. You can demonstrate your communication skills by including experience like debate club or group projects on your CV.

Leadership potential

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, says: “Leadership belongs to those who take it”. Now, this may not mean going into an interview and demanding the role, but confidence and the ability to step up and take control are desirable in any candidate.


Perhaps the hardest skill to teach, being proactive means taking the initiative. Many employers will attest that potential can carry more weight than experience.

For students, try expanding on your extra-curricular activities. This could mean joining a society, helping a charity or just being vocal in your university community. For graduates, volunteer work or joining a club can also illustrate your proactive nature. If you want to go the extra mile, why not start your own club, blog or website?

Industry experience

Of course, experience in your chosen field is indispensable, but if you have the previous four skills nailed down, its absence can (occasionally) be forgiven. However, doing an internship or placement can only help your cause.

To find out what opportunities may already be waiting for you, look at our job board today.


By David Gee Published: January 11, 2017


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