8 Valuable Skills all Entry-Level Job Seekers Should Have
Entry-level jobs typically have few prerequisites, but there are some skills that are useful in almost every entry-level position. Once you've mastered these skills, you're ready to jump in to the details of your new job. You probably already have had some experience in each of these areas from school and life, but if you feel uncertain about any of these skills, it never hurts to practice!
1. Conversational skills
Particularly if you work in the front of house, being able to strike up a friendly conversation and build a rapport with guests is important. And even in the back of house, you'll be expected to chat comfortably with coworkers and other business contacts. If you find this challenging, you may want to brush up on some conversation starters.
2. Organizational skills
In school, teachers may have given you multiple reminders about assignment due dates. But in the workplace, you're required to keep track of your own schedule and stay on top of your assigned tasks. Of course, your supervisor will monitor your work, but you'll probably find that a greater degree of independence is required from you. You might find productivity apps or a notebook organizer helpful if this skill doesn't come naturally to you
3. Responsiveness to feedback
No matter what knowledge you bring to the table, an entry-level job is going to provide a lot of training and present some new material. Being able to accept constructive criticism and incorporate what you've learned from feedback into your work is just as important as any qualification you've previously earned.
You'll be working with a group of other people, so you should be prepared to participate as a member of a team. That means contributing ideas and feedback when appropriate, listening to others' ideas, and sharing responsibilities equitably. You'll also need to handle disputes and personality conflicts in a professional way, because you can't just walk away from your team when there's a disagreement.
You may be surprised how many entry-level jobs require some writing, whether that's drafting an email, writing up a list of ideas or steps in an action plan, or crafting a presentation. While you don't need to be the next Stephen King, you should be able to write clear, logical paragraphs with correct punctuation and spelling.
6. Computer skills
You should know how to send email, navigate websites, and create documents in a word processing program. If you're working in business analytics or finance, being able to work with spreadsheets and create slides is also a must. You don't need to be a typing whiz unless you're specifically hired for data entry, but you should be able to type fairly accurately without looking at the keyboard.
7. Mathematical literacy
Unless you work in a math-intensive department like accounting, your job may not require you to crunch any numbers on a daily basis. But chances are, your employer still wants you to have basic math skills. These include the ability to do arithmetic, solve simple word problems and equations, and read charts, graphs, and tables. If your math skills are rusty, review the basics with a free resource like Khan Academy or Math.com.
8. Phone skills
Employers expect new hires to be comfortable with answering the phone in a professional manner, taking a message or asking a caller to hold, introducing themselves on a call, and conducting a short conversation over the phone. If fielding calls is a big part of your job, you'll be given guidance and possibly scripts to follow, but the general concept of using phones in business should already be familiar to you. If you're less comfortable talking on the phone (for example, because you primarily send texts) practice by calling people instead of sending a text or email.