The show has a consistent structure every year with 16 candidates vying for the investment of British billionaire Alan Sugar. With this year’s cohort, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve sighed. Okay, not all of that is accurate, but I have laughed at some of the commentator’s not-so-funny puns and the general ruckus that happens with the boardroom challenges.
Whilst watching I’ve noticed some things, and as graduates and potential graduates, I think these are worth mentioning. I’m talking about leadership styles, teamwork and communication skills. These skills are very important, and your CV should show them. Why- because their transferable skills that can be used in all types of jobs. So, the more you can demonstrate these skills the better for you!
First, if you’re in a leadership position don’t try to bulldoze your way through everything. You’ll come across aggressive, unwilling to listen, and not a team player and that is not good for morale. On the flip side, while taking on people’s ideas don’t forget your own. Yes, it’s good to take on board everyone’s ideas, but you need to make other people see what’s great about your idea. Also, if you say you’re going to be responsible for something then be responsible for it.
Second, being able to work in a team is incredibly important! You might have come into the world alone, but you won’t stay alone, you’ll meet and work with so many people in your lifetime. In fact, according to statistics taken in 2013 we meet 80,000 people. That figure may be even higher now. The whole point of working in a team is to achieve a common goal, if you don’t respect your teammates everything will come crumbling down. When you work in a team having a tunnel vision is bad practice.
Third, have a say, and have a role. Your presence matters, and you can make a difference. Without your contribution, things will seem out of place, its noticeable and questions will be asked. So be on the right side – and be prepared. This goes for interviews as well. Apps like Glassdoor are useful not only to see other people’s reactions to working in a place, but also interview questions they might have been asked in the recruitment process.
Fourth, communication, communication, communication! Have I said it enough times? Ok, well, it’s important. If you apply for any job, you’ll see ‘excellent verbal and written communication skills’ as a part of the skills and experience section. How can you evidence this? And don’t think you can’t. I used to think I couldn’t show this or show that but turns out I can. Trust me you do have a lot to show! On the slim chance, you don’t have the skills or experience— get some!
Fifth, excuses— drop them they’re obvious, and do no favours. If anything, they show don’t deliver on promises, and can’t produce results. Sounds harsh, I know. On the show, it hasn’t gone down well, and I doubt it would in real life too.
Sixth, turns out the slogan keep calm and carry is relevant in all types of contexts. Keeping calm while you’re working under pressure is difficult, but it’s a good way of testing and showing your resilience.