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  • Vee Kativhu

Having self confidence in the workplace.

In honour of World Youth Skills Day, I partnered with the SMF and LinkedIn to do a Q&A on Twitter, giving young people advice about how to make the most of their time and how to acquire the skills needed to thrive in the workplace.

It’s essential to help young people develop their skills for the world of work as young people aged between 15-24 are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and, therefore, face a prolonged school-work transition period. This process leaves many students feeling undervalued and underqualified, despite having degrees, and thus they begin to doubt their abilities when they eventually enter the workspace.

I want to see more young people entering the world of work much sooner after graduating than the current rate. Many of us lack experience because we are often in full-time education before entering the workspace and therefore, may not have had the time to acquire experience. Thus, it would be amazing to see employers take this into consideration when hiring, because the catch 22 is that you need experience to get experience but will never get that experience if all positions require you to have experience. Confusing? I know, but welcome to the world of unemployment as a graduate.

As a top tip to young people, I recommend you focus on ensuring you have your soft skills up to scratch to help become more employable. Soft skills are always invaluable in many workplaces, and the more of these that we acquire, the more we can contribute to our roles in the world of work. According to the most sought after soft skills are things such as effective communication skills, teamwork, dependability, adaptability, conflict resolution, flexibility, leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, organisation, willingness to learn and empathy. Soft skills are the personal habits and traits that shape how you work, on your own, and with others (indeed career guides); thus, developing these is super important as it helps make you more employable. Soft skills are transferable skills that you can use across many careers and industries, and thus having these on your resume means you are adaptable to different roles and are equipped with skills that will always be useful.

As young people, we also have to remember that we are absolutely good enough and to be confident in ourselves when we eventually do enter the world of work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you are there, your colleagues have years of experience and will be willing to give you advice and tips on how to master your role. Also, make sure you showcase your skills, you were hired for a reason, don’t be afraid to share your ideas, you’re young and have a cool view of the world and many companies and employers need that, so where you can try and share your thoughts and ideas. If you come from a disadvantaged background, please don’t assume these means you're behind or that everyone else is better than you because they’re not. I always tell myself that I have a different perspective on the world and have learned to think differently when I didn’t have the resources to do what my peers could do. I know how to take a little and make a lot. I know how to think on my feet, innovate and solve problems. These are all strengths that I have acquired from my background, and that’s how you should always view life, a moment of taking the lemons and making lemonade, always. Your background has made you stronger, more resilient and able to adapt, these are strengths and characteristics that make you even more amazing and what you are achieving all the more special.

You’ve got this, develop your soft skills, hold your head up high and remember you deserve to occupy these spaces just as much as anyone else.

This article was written as part of the LinkedIn #Changemakers partnership – a 12-month campaign shining a spotlight on individuals who are using LinkedIn to drive genuine change in the world of work. To find out more about the partnership, read more here:

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