A variety of specific skills are required and needed to be acknowledged when you apply for jobs in STEM especially as a STEM woman.
In most cases you will have gained most of these skills from just completing your specific STEM degree at university or from attending school.
These are skills you would perform without realising it- in your day-to-day life- however, it is important for us STEM women to emphasise these transferable skills in our CV’s and in interview situations.
By explicitly showing off these skills it will create for us- women in STEM- the best possible opportunity to succeed throughout the job application process.
Any company you search on Google, any job advert website for example; Indeed/Reed or even on your personal LinkedIn account you will be asked about what skills you possess. You are asked how these skills could and would help you in certain situations and further when you’ve been in situations where you’ve used these skills in the past.
Recruiters are constantly looking out for people to hire, searching via Google for candidates who meet their specific skill set requirements.
Having a LinkedIn account will boost your attractability as numerous recruiters are always searching for their perfect potential candidates who will be a good addition to their company and be able to fit in.
Therefore, tailoring your CV to highlight these specific skills will help to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed with post-graduation applications to get your dream career.
We are going to focus on the following skills that are most attractive to STEM employers:
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.
To be able to think critically and to be able to approach and attempt solving problems are necessary skills in any workspace environment.
Having the capability to be able to cope well in situations when things do not go to plan or something unexpected happens, an employer is eager to know your ability to manage a situation like this. No company is perfect and nothing always goes to plan, therefore unexpected problems may arise and recruiters want to know that they could rely on you and know if you would be able to tackle any difficulty you could face.
The meaning of critical thinking is having the ability to use and analyse information to make reasoned decisions. It involves looking at a situation from a multitude of different angles, identifying the cause of a problem and being able to come up with solutions in order to fix this problem .
The definition of problem-solving is the process of taking action to resolve a problem. It involves identifying the problem, brainstorming possible solutions, choosing the best course of action and carrying out the plan to solve it.
Having these skills does not mean you need to have an immediate answer, it means you have to be able to think on your feet, assess problems and find solutions.
Effective Leadership and Management.
Even if the role you are applying for isn’t a specific leadership/managerial job, all employers are looking for candidates that can take charge and demonstrate that you have the potential to lead others in order to achieve a goal or objective.
The ability to lead a group to solve and sort out problems is a very attractive quality recruiters look out for so having a few examples demonstrating this skill would put you in a good position to excel through the application process.
Further, if you’ve ever participated in any extra-curricular activities outside your academic subject is a good example you can use, especially a time when you’ve had to plan or coordinate tasks by showing your own initiative.
Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills.
By completing your chosen STEM degree at university, most graduates will have had the opportunity to work and develop their teamwork skills through group work projects. As a result of working in a group setting you will develop your interpersonal skills by communicating and interacting with other people.
Interpersonal communication skills are a necessary attribute employers look for as this can help you become more productive in the workplace, build strong and positive relationships with your colleagues and complete team projects smoothly and effectively.
The benefits of good interpersonal skills can affect the morale and productivity of your entire team or department which is highly admirable.
To be able to communicate clearly and successfully is imperative in all life situations, specifically in the workplace.
How clearly you can display yourself and your ability to be able to listen to others is necessary when being an employee in a company. It allows you to be able to work as a team, converse with clients and to be able to compete in social situations.
Your communication skills will be assessed from the very beginning of any application process as to how you display yourself in your written CV to how you come across in any interview settings.
The ability to correctly read the room and know how to approach situations gives you great power in being able to deal with every type of person.
Communication is such a valuable skill that allows you to present yourself in any way you desire therefore you should take advantage and show the recruiters exactly who you are and what a great addition you will be to their company.
From Google’s definition ‘digital fluency is the ability to discover, evaluate, and use information and technology effectively and ethically.’
Digital fluency is important in today’s society due to the world becoming increasingly digital every day with more companies choosing to get their employers to work virtually or to have hybrid roles.
There will always be a need for manual and analog skill sets in certain industries but even those areas have been pushed into the digital world.
Once jobs were able to go virtual during the pandemic, being digitally fluent has become a necessity.
Remote workers needed to understand how collaborative software could help with their work activities and how to communicate with other coworkers via messenger apps or video conference platforms such as Zoom.
It is essential to show the employers that you’re able to adapt to new situations and your ability to pick up and learn new skills in the workplace.
Workplaces are ever changing therefore, being able to demonstrate your adaptability is a very agreeable attribute which recruiters will be impressed by.
Showing this skill with examples where you have adapted to situations will show the employer that you would be a great candidate for their company. Possessing this skill also lets recruiters know that you’re a good leader and you will handle challenges well.
The Google definition for resilience is given by ‘the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’
Can you think back to a moment during your STEM degree subject at university where you overcame a hardship? Or how you reacted when unexpected challenges occurred during an assessment or project that you did not expect?
You aren’t required to be completely unaffected by these hardships however, the recruiter is more interested in looking at how you reacted in a positive way when you were set with a difficulty.
This allows them to understand how you’ll potentially react if future setbacks occur for you in the workplace and if you’ll be able to cope with the job you’re applying for as the recruiter knows how demanding and stressful the job could be.
It is important to be completely transparent and show off your skills and what you have achieved despite potential setbacks.
Developing and showcasing this skill could set you up from all potential components. Taking the time out to Google and research about how the industry or a particular organisation works you’re interested in or apply to.
By displaying this skill will not only demonstrate your awareness of the company’s standings in comparison to other companies and industries but it will also demonstrate your great recall capabilities.
One thing all STEM students can relate to and understand is how content heavy STEM subjects are therefore, being able to store and recall facts and information is nothing new for us and we can easily show this off in any situation required which is guaranteed to impress employers.
Work experience and internships you may have completely in the specific area of work or industry can also be included to demonstrate this skill and will be impressive to show your real life involvement.
All these skills showcase one point in particular and that is to make sure you show off all your achievements and situations you have overcome to be in the position you are in right now.
Show off all your achievements and attributes you have as a woman in STEM.
Completing your degree not only demonstrates what a tenacious person you are but has also given you a variety of impressive skills all recruiters want to employ.
Whether it has been consciously in your life or subconsciously, you have demonstrated most of these skills, if not all, discussed above.
Don’t ever doubt or discourage your achievements or experiences.
It is necessary to show off all your capabilities; the good, the bad and the ugly.