College is an excellent time to expand your horizons, learn new things and meet new people, all of which will doubtlessly influence you for the rest of your life.
It also provides an excellent opportunity for students to identify and develop marketable skills that will serve them well throughout their careers.
If you didn’t develop these four skills sufficiently during your time at university, then for the sake of your career you should start doing what you can to be able to authoritatively add them to your resume.
Technical skills are critically important to businesses now, all looking to keep up with new trends and move their companies into the 21st century.
Having knowledge of things like website development, coding, app building and more can make you a more desirable hire.
If you’re already out of school, you can attend community programs, seminars, special classes at your local community college, follow online guides and download trial versions of various software to teach yourself how to use them.
Try developing a simple app or creating a simple website to see how well you do.
Remember that tech skills should be developed alongside soft skills, as employers continue to state that they want technical skills to be supported with strong soft skills.
2. Verbal and written communication
Verbal and written communication skills are integral in the workplace and many employers, especially if written communication is a major part of the job, test your skills as part of your application process.
These marketable skills are important in the workplace for several reasons, such as being able to provide excellent customer service, projecting a professional appearance and being able to negotiate successfully, among others.
As recently as 2016, surveyed employers named verbal communication as the most important skill for a candidate to have.
In university, nearly all disciplines require their students to utilize and perfect written and verbal communication. A classic example are research papers, in addition to presentations and public speaking.
Whether you’re a music major or a biology major, you have to learn to write and speak your case clearly and effectively.
Verbal and written communication are skills you should really be working on your entire life.
Even in your personal life they can be helpful, such as when you need to work out relationship issues with your spouse or need to write a letter to a service company.
So outside of being important to landing a job, these skills are important to your everyday life.
Some ideas for how to improve your written and spoken communication skills:
- Talk to people.
- Write a blog.
- Write letters and e-mails to friends.
- Debate with others about topics that interest you.
3. Ability to work both independently and on a team
Most job ads ask for team players, and it’s true that in most jobs employees must be able to work well within a team. But it’s also true that many jobs also require employees to, at least some of the time, work and be productive by themselves.
It’s in your best interest to be able to work well within a team and by yourself, whether you truly prefer one or the other. Both can be beneficial at different times, as working solo on a project can result in less feedback and a worse outcome, while if your job requires remote work you will have to be able to produce good work by yourself.
Begin by becoming more productive and comfortable when you need to work on a big project by yourself, whether that involves writing down a list of tasks (writing things down statistically makes them more likely to be accomplished) or determining that you will finish a project without help from anyone else. As for sharpening your teamwork skills, take advantage of club activities, volunteer work and group projects.
Leadership skills are required today, but not as much as they were in the previous years. You should focus first on your soft skills.
Developing leadership skills in your university years by getting involved in student clubs and organizations and running for an officer role in them.
This generally looks very good on a resume and gives you good experience when you have to manage both the regular club members and interactions between other club officers.
If you’re no longer a student and have no plans to go back to school, you can develop leadership skills by volunteering.
Many organisations are desperate for volunteers and would welcome your help – in some groups it would be very easy to secure an officer position.
Leadership skills are not only going to help you get hired for a role as a manager or make it easier to obtain a promotion. For example, leadership skills will help you control your body language so you appear authoritative in meetings, which will make you more successful as your ideas will be heard and taken seriously.
Your university years are simply a great time in your life to pick up some marketable skills, either in the classroom or outside it. Even if you didn’t get a degree or didn’t develop these skills, it’s never too late to start working on them.
About the author
Choosing a school that will help you build your future is a weighty decision. Researching universities and colleges across the entire USA, Amanda Wilks has learned that while schools are invested in helping the student develop marketable skills, your career depends more on taking matter into our own hands. Find a good school.