Skills to learn in your graduation year | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:08 PM, September 18, 2018

Skills to learn in your graduation year

Every year, universities across the country produce a staggering number of graduates. In a job market where this number far exceeds the number of desirable jobs, how can one graduate stand out from another?

In my teens, I used to look with awe at university seniors getting jobs. To my younger, less informed self, they seemed to be knowledgeable, mature and confident in their careers. Now, with my own graduation a mere semester away, I realise that most of these people had no idea what they were doing. As I finally step on to the same metaphorical boat, I also realise that if all these clueless people have managed to stay afloat, so can you and I.

Soft skills are wonderful to have, but they're hard to show on paper. It's mostly the on paper skills that really catch an employer's eye, especially during primary screening. Based on that premise, you should really be adding some solid skills to your resume, if you haven't already.

Basic software literacy

It sounds silly, but a lot of students fresh out of university don't know how to use common software that has been around pretty much all their lives. By that, I mean software like Microsoft Excel, which can actually do a lot more than help you add and subtract big numbers on your batch trip budget. These days, almost every senior I talk to seems to be complaining about how much trouble they're having with pivot tables and v/h lookups. 

Before you proceed to showing off how you're a maestro at whatever the newest, coolest video editing software is, show your employer that you use day to day office software well. Do a little exploring on your own, and get help from tutorials on the internet.

Business writing

You may have 500 likes on every millennial savvy pun you put up as your status. That translates to you being funny, popular, or both, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're good at what employers seek: sound business writing.

If you were under the impression that the only report you'll ever write is a senior's internship paper in exchange for ten thousand bucks, you're wrong. At work, you'll need to write emails, memos, reports, meeting summaries and a lot more. You won't get paid extra for these, but you will get five rounds of feedback and probably a poor evaluation rating if you're bad.

To help yourself from hitting that point, invest some time now looking at business writing samples. Once again, the internet is your friend.

Speaking skills

You don't need to spout music from your mouth every time you open it, but you will need to be able to speak well at work. Be it screaming at your vendor, squirrelling out of trouble from your boss or ruling over the minions in your workspace, it's important to not let others find out how confused and scared you really are.

The trick to getting there is speaking with reasonable confidence. This kind of confidence doesn't come from simply expanding your chest and improving your posture; it comes from actually knowing what you're talking about and not sounding annoying and pretentious. The world is biased towards well-spoken people, so you might as well use it to your advantage.

Bengali and additional languages

English is a must-know in today's world. But, everyone already knows that. What many students tend to overlook is the importance of a good grip on Bengali. If you're creating content targeted towards the mass, for instance, you'll get a wider reach and often connect better with Bengali. Especially if you're considering a career in Bangladesh, you should put equal emphasis on both languages.

Aside from these two languages and what you know of Hindi from years of secretly watching Star Plus with your mom, try learning to speak and read an additional language. Not only does it add to the value of what you can offer, it also opens up a lot of job options that require additional language skills. Even if you don't have enough time to learn an entire new language before you graduate, you can at least complete the fundamental levels to put something on your resume.

Coding and app design

In a world that's slowly but surely redefining itself with apps and programming, are you even trying to not become obsolete if you don't familiarize yourself with these things? There is an app for everything – starting from getting food in the middle of the night to breathing better with tutorials. Quite literally, we live and breathe technology.

Markets now value tech and data literacy more than ever before, and they will continue to do so in the near future. Some proficiency in coding therefore makes you significant to recruiters, despite your lack of CGPA.

For a lot of us, university didn't go quite as planned. But fret not, because you can still work on yourself in the few months before graduation. If you truly do wish to stand out, it is possible to add to your profile and in turn, add to the reasons an employer might find you interesting.


Tasmiah is a senior studying Finance at IBA, DU. She likes food and makes stressful choices. Reach her at

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