Author: Philip Mbwaya, ALUSB Marketing Coordinator

In this ever-changing job market, recent graduates and young professionals need to be highly proactive in equipping themselves with the skills and mindset that employers value and search for.

But what are employers really looking for? ALUSB recently organised an online panel discussion with Human Capital leaders across Africa to discuss how recent graduates and young professionals can best differentiate themselves and build a standout career.

Read on to discover 5 ways you can differentiate yourself and build a standout career according to HR experts:

1. Have the drive and willingness to learn

In order to thrive as a young professional, you have to be open-minded and curious. You will be introduced to a lot of new tools, platforms, and ways of working, so having a learning mindset is crucial to your growth.

Tip:
take professional courses in areas of personal interest that will make you more efficient in your role!

2. Develop your communication skills

You’ve probably heard this before, but: communication is key. The ability to speak up and communicate your thoughts clearly is essential to achieving your career goals. On top of that, good and effective communication will also improve team dynamics and help you build stronger business relationships.

Tip: communication can only be improved by frequent practice, so take every opportunity to practice your written and verbal communication skills!

3. Embrace creativity and continuous improvement
The work environment thrives on efficient working systems and minimising the waste of resources such as time and finances. Beyond your day to day tasks, you should be creative and try to find solutions that improve the general performance of the organisation.

Tip: have conversations and brainstorming sessions with teams outside your department. Who knows, they might inspire you!

4. Develop the agility to undertake tasks
When you join a new organisation or company, you might already have a vision of what you would like to do. However, there might be instances where you have to perform in areas outside your job description. When an opportunity like that arises, don’t shy away from it: be willing to get your hands dirty. It could actually be quite rewarding to learn more about a side of the business that you weren’t familiar with before. This flexibility often leads to more opportunities!

Tip: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!

5. Enhance your networking skills
Once you’ve developed the skills that make you stand out, the next priority is to stay top-of-mind with your colleagues and potential employers! Three ways to achieve this: networking, networking, and networking. This will expose you to the right kind of opportunities that align with your career goals.

“It is important that you’re top-of-mind for the right reasons.”

– Diana Gombe ‘21, HR Business Partner, Africa Field Division

Tip: Network with a clear notion of your career goals.

Shaped by the needs of leading employers across Africa, the goal of the brand new ALUSB Master of Management programme is to equip young professionals and recent graduates with the business skills, elite pan-African network, and leadership ability to add value to an organisation!

Start your application today at: https://bit.ly/MMAPPLY21 and start your career acceleration journey!