Skill is a term that encompasses the knowledge, competencies, and abilities to perform various tasks. Skills are developed through life and work experiences and they can also be learned through study. Skills also play an extremely role in building one’s profile. While skill evaluation can be a relatively vague area for an admission committee to look at, evidencing your strength in communication, problem-solving, active listening, and organization are a few examples that gain eyeballs and are looked at during the time of admission. Leadership is probably the most valued skill for AdCom officers at some of the best colleges globally.
Skills in a professional setting and personal life are two different things. Looking at the professional workspace there are several ways to build your skills before you actually apply for your education abroad. A few ways to brush up on your skills in a professional workplace is to
1. Case study competitions.
This highlights your capability to work in a group and be a good leader. Also looks at your ability to tackle extreme situations maturely and in a structured manner.
2. Business groups.
These are groups of people of the same profession working in different workplaces. A lot of social learning and domain knowledge gets acquired through membership and participation in such groups. It also evidences your ability to work within groups and your capability of being adaptive to learning from your peers.
3. Domain-Specific leadership
Being a leader within your domain highlights your leadership skills which is an extremely important skill while looking at applying for courses abroad at top universities.
Now let’s look at skills as a means of developing your profile at a more personal level.
Demonstrated leadership itself highlights several different skills that an applicant possesses. Being a leader shows that you can influence & motivate a team. Working with a team also means that the applicant is able to adapt their decisions to inputs from external surroundings and internal factors. Leadership also shows your ability to communicate with several people, be a quick problem solver, and ability to make tough decisions. These few things put together to make leadership a role that several admission committees look at at the time of admission.
So how do you demonstrate leadership in your profile?
Most schools have several leadership positions like a head boy, head girl or sports captain, etc. Taking up responsibility in school with these leadership positions would surely prove to be an asset in your profile. However, even if you don’t hold the position you can still do various things. Try making a change to an already existing event that takes place in your school or college. If not that then, try building a new platform that you can work on, start new initiatives that your school can take. When you take on a leadership role, always try making an impact as a leader, try making a change so you will be remembered. Something like this is what would truly stand out in your CV.
Another thing you can do is go for leadership programs. How do these programs actually help? There are several leadership programs that teach you skills like communication, problem-solving, strategic decision making, and several other skills like these. In addition to these skills leadership programs also imbibe the basic concepts of moral ethics and mentoring. These also play an extremely important role in the entire process of leadership programs. Being a part of these programs also helps students develop their profiles.
Where can you find these courses? Portals like CleverHarvey.com have small defined courses to help you build relevant management and critical thinking skills. Also, some institutes in India offer leadership programs to students (such as YLAC) who are not yet in university to be a part of and understand the concept of leadership.
Another way of building your profile with your skillset is to look for relevant internships. By looking for relevant internships you also work on your already existing interests as well as skills. A good internship could be defined as an internship that would give you the relevant amount of professional experience as well as making use of the already existing skillset you have. Taking on an internship not only highlights your dedication and focus towards your career but also showcases your practical knowledge and use of your skills.
Where can you find the correct internship?
One of the most used places to find internships is on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a platform that helps you connect with senior professionals & HR teams of different companies. They also have internship opportunities for students who wish to learn and work in the field of their interest.
Another platform would be sites like Internshala. Internshala helps students make a resume and then filter internships according to their preferences and choices. You could pursue remote, part-time, or full-time internships that are aligned with your future career choice. Note that an unpaid internship that’s aligned with your preferred major is better than a paid internship that is unrelated to your future plans.
So now you know how to strengthen your academic profile and also how skills can be developed. In a final Part 3 of this series, we will be touching upon how extracurricular activities will help you enhance your admission chances.