Important Skills To Adopt While In College
College is meant to get people ready for their eventual careers. While a degree may make you eligible for the job you want, that doesn’t mean it equips you with the skills you need to find long-term success. In this article, we look at important professional skills that aren’t necessarily inherent in the college process. Read on to learn more about skills that will help you find success, no matter where you work.
Professional Skills To Adopt Before Graduating College
You don’t have to be a business major to require a certain degree of business acumen. In the professional world, everything is a business of sorts. Schools and hospitals have finances that need to be managed and offices that run in much the same way as your average company.
No matter what field you are destined to enter, a basic understanding of how business works can be beneficial, both for getting a job and for performing well at it when the time comes. No single skill is necessarily more important than the others, but a working understanding of the following may help pad your resume, and improve your overall abilities.
1. Financial Literacy
The majority of college students leave their studies with next to no understanding of how finances work. Not only is this problematic at a personal level—especially considering how much debt the average college student has—but it can hinder you in the professional world.
What does it take to be a good leader in the workplace? Understanding this can put you on the promotion track no matter where you work, and also just make you a better coworker.
What is the overall goal of a good business strategy? Being able to think in terms of goals and the steps that it will take to achieve them is a valuable asset to any organization.
Even if you aren’t formally entering the field of marketing, you will inevitably do some. Perhaps you will market yourself. Perhaps you will need to be able to communicate what the organization you are working for does to vendors, the public, investors, etc. Understanding the basics of marketing empowers you to frame what you are doing at work in the most beneficial way.
5. Problem Solving
Do you know how to put out fires? No matter where you work, unfortunate situations are sure to arise. Being the person who can calmly address them not only makes you popular around the office but also helps you gain attention from higher-ups.
Finally, cooperation is key to success in any workplace. You need to be able to collaborate with your coworkers. You don’t have to enroll in business school. Some of these skills are sure to be touched on no matter what program you enter. Others can be picked up by carefully selecting the right business classes as electives.
7. Social Media Resume Skills
Social media is an increasingly important component of business. Companies look at social media in several ways.
- What do job candidates post about? Are you controversial on social media? Inappropriate? Businesses want to make sure that their employees come up clean on a Google search. If your account doesn’t fit the bill, you might have a hard time getting hired at all.
- Are you social media savvy? In marketing and sales jobs a degree of social media savvy is not optional. For all other positions, it will still be considered a big bonus.
You don’t have to be an influencer to use social media to your advantage. Just knowing how to navigate various platforms in a way that is advantageous to business is an important skill to have. Especially in the context of…
Building a personal brand is now more important than it has ever been. Businesses everywhere look for employees that fit their image. If you can demonstrate that you do this, it will help you get hired and move up in your place of work. Good branding should be thoughtful but largely organic. For example, if you care deeply about climate change, you can be an eco-friendly marketer. This might mean making respectful social media posts about environmental concerns. It might also mean volunteering or participating in organizations that are geared toward sustainability. Basically, having a strong personal brand means being able to point to concrete things that will show a company how you align with their stated values.
In college, it’s easy not to dwell very much on the interview process. It’s just a conversation, right? Eh. Interviewing is a skill in its own right and not one you’ll necessarily have a natural aptitude for. Interviewing isn’t about the skills you have that make you suited for the job. It’s about being able to communicate compatibility through how you dress, how you talk, and how you act. Most universities have departments that will prepare graduates for job interviews. Some may offer practice interviews, while others will even have free classes that walk you through the whole process, beginning at the interview stage.
10. Active Listening
Finally, active listening. This is a quality that is both elusive, and entirely possible to acquire naturally, without any classes or formal instruction. It just means being able to hear people, process what they say, and build conversations around it. You may be thinking, “I already do this.” Do you? Active listening doesn’t mean figuring out how to say what you want to communicate as quickly as possible. It means true collaboration. An exchange of ideas in which all perspectives are considered and weighed evenly. It’s a skill that takes practice, but it is also vital in any place of work. You can build your active listening skills by actively honing them in clubs and collaborative projects.