The Insight: Get the extra edge in the employment market


A few weeks ago the UCU career development office conducted yet another finalists’ Careers Week. The theme was: “Beyond the transcript”.

Skilled and experienced facilitators from within and outside UCU spoke to the students on various topics. I was honoured to be part of this purposefully selected team.

Indeed, the world continues to change and so are the required skills for ideal professionals.

This trend is influenced by globalization. Therefore, anyone searching for a job placement needs to conform to international standards.

This global perspective is key to overcoming the odds in any job market. The choice of hiring professionals who are assets is better than just picking liabilities. For instance, if you are trying to decide among a few people (with the same skills) to fill a position, one would hire the better writer.

That is because being a good writer is about more than clear writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers are good communicators, empathetic, and make things easy to understand.

These are some of the major qualities employers look for in employees. Writing is actually today’s currency for good ideas.

This is an area where any strategic professional thinker should aggressively exploit.

The ten major considerations for hiring strategic professionals, as revealed by top employers such as Microsoft, include:

The ability to express one’s ideas clearly and confidently in speech (verbal communication)

  • The ability to work confidently within a group (team work)
  •  The ability to understand the commercial realities affecting the organization (commercial awareness)
  •  The ability to gather information systematically to establish facts and principles towards problem-solving (critical-analysis of problems)
  •  The ability to act on initiative,identifyopportunities and proactive in putting forward ideas and solutions (initiative and self-motivated)
  •  The determination to get things done, make things happen and constantly looking for better ways of doing things (self-drive)
  •  The ability to express oneself clearly in writing (written communication)
  • The ability to plan activities and carry them through effectively (planning and organising),
  •  The ability to adapt successfully to changing situations and environments (flexibility)
  • The ability to manage time effectively, prioritising tasks and beating deadlines (time management).


Other global skills may include:

  • The ability to speak and understand other languages in addition to appreciating other cultures.
  • The ability to influence and convince others
  • The ability to perform effectively under pressure, and determine the best course of action; and

Evaluate options based on logic, fact and present solutions.

Find opportunities to cultivate these attributes. They will enable you to serve in a multi-cultural setting.

The Foundation Studies course unit called “Understanding World Views”, as offered here at UCU prepares graduates for this.

Our graduates continue to be excellent in the field because of such fundamentals.

The writer is a lecturer at the Foundations Studies Department

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