6 Skills Learned in College That Help You in Your Career
The time you spend in college includes a hidden course: Life Skills 101. That’s a good thing, because potential employers are interested in more than just your GPA. They’re interested in the positive life skills you pick up during your educational journey. Their decision to hire you – or not hire you – may very well be based upon your evidence of these skills, or the lack thereof.
What are these all-important life skills, and how do they help you look like an attractive job candidate?
Most jobs these days call for people skills, including the ability to have a clear conversation without offending the other person. Whether a job requires you to communicate in the flesh or online, there’s a right way and a wrong way to interact professionally with others.
As a student, you’re developing working relationships with peers and professors. You’re expressing yourself through oral presentations and expository papers. These experiences teach you the subtle art of getting along with others and communicating your ideas with maturity and respect. Potential employers will be ascertaining your people skills from the moment you walk through the interview door. Smile, make eye contact, and be ready to answer questions that show off your skills.
Remember all those times your professor asked you to work in a group? Chances are he/she had an ulterior motive. The ability to find your place in a cohesive team doesn’t come naturally to everybody, but it’s a necessary skill in most work environments.
Working in a team environment increases personal accountability, boosts morale, and motivates workers. If you lack the ability to play nicely with others, most employers aren’t likely to want you on their team. During an interview, illustrate your ability to work cooperatively with colleagues by mentioning any experience with team sports, sororities/fraternities, and academic committees.
Teamwork is important, but so is your ability to handle tasks on your own. Employers want self-starters who don’t need coaching and coaxing every step of the way.
Going to college is a part of growing up, branching out, and finding your independence. As a college student, have you bought your own car? Paid your own tuition? Worked a job while going to school? Potential employers are often interested in hearing your tales of self-sufficiency.
Sure, you can think. But can you think critically? Critical thinking involves several complex tasks, including analysis, discrimination, logic, and information transference, according to University of Michigan researchers. Employers rely on the critical thinkers they hire to make smart decisions that positively affect their business.
Any big life decisions you’ve made – especially those with a positive outcome – could be used in an interview to spotlight your critical thinking skills.
Most professors recommend you study at least two hours per week for each credit you take. This could quickly add up to 36 hours of study or more – the equivalent a full-time job. Consequently, many students end up putting in about half the recommended study time. According to the advice provided in this infographic by CampusBooks.com, they study smarter, not harder.
Employers want workers who can prioritize tasks and work efficiently. Tell potential employers how you’ve learned to budget your time and get things done as a busy student. These career-building skills are essential at most busy workplaces.
Living on a shoestring budget during college can be a tad uncomfortable, but the skills you learn from being dirt poor can actually help you make money later in life. In today’s economy, employers want workers who can do less with more.
If the field you’re headed for has anything to do with conserving money or other resources, don’t hesitate to talk up your ability to do just that on the job. Your college diploma is living proof that you can scrimp, pinch, and save with the best of them.
The life skills you pick up in college can do wonders for your professional life. Employers want capable, competent workers who are more than just book smart; they want people who are life-smart, too.