Do you ever think about how you will use your Art History class once you get a job? Many of the college classes turn out to be a useless waste of time instead of valuable preparation for adult life. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of skills you should develop while you still have time. Employers seek people with a broad skill set, so if you adopt these techniques now, you will beat your peers in a job hunt race.
If you are regularly late for classes and never turn in assignments on time, time-management is the first skill you should master. A missed deadline on an important project is a sure way to unemployment. We’ve already covered basic time-management techniques in a previous article, so check it out if you are a chronic procrastinator.
The first step to mastering self-organization is admitting you have a problem and evaluating its magnitude. Start with a detailed report about the ways you spend your time. Every 30 minutes write how you have spent the time. Do it for a week, and you will get a great idea of how much time you waste on social media, TV shows, and other mindless things while you could have been working on homework, submitting internship applications or looking for a part-time job.
After you identify your poor self-organization habits, don’t go changing your whole routine in one day. You will slip up, and your best intentions will go up in flames. Instead, decide on one productive habit you want to adopt, like waking up 30 minutes earlier or restricting social media surfing to an hour. Once you embrace a new habit, which takes about three weeks, you can move on to the next lifestyle goal.
It is not enough to be a speed-texter to communicate with your employer, colleagues, and clients successfully. Companies keep looking for employees with outstanding people skills and effective communication mastery on their resumes. If you don’t always understand your professor and peers, develop communication skills, while they are still not a decisive factor in your career.
Practice active listening in face-to-face conversations. Imagine you have to pass the test after your conversation is over. Listen carefully to everything the person says and ask questions if you don’t understand something or have lost the train of thought. Be attentive, and the people will notice, and your popularity will soar.
Get straight to the point in emails and text messages. In business, no one has the time to read through your lengthy ramblings. Provide critical information upfront and leave the explanations for later. This will save your correspondents’ time and endear you to them.
Your school teachers and college professors might hold your hand through every step of every assignment, but in business, no one has time and resources to micromanage you daily. Companies want their employees to stay motivated to complete tasks on time and go beyond expectations without a constant stream of external positive and negative reinforcement.
The only way to stay motivated and uphold self-esteem is by comparing your current achievements to your past. Every night write seven things you did better today than yesterday. Reread the list and let yourself bask in the glow of your progress. Once you settle into a routine, add seven points you plan to do better tomorrow. This little trick will help you feel good about your progress and get better at motivating further growth at work and in social life.
One of the best and worst things about life is its unpredictability. You plan to finish an essay three days before the deadline when you catch a cold and can’t move a finger for a week. Or your roommate discovers heavy metal, and you don’t get enough sleep to make a good impression during your trial run at a part-time job. Life happens, and you need to adjust to circumstances.
If you panic in the face of unforeseen troubles, train yourself to be more adaptable. Get out of your comfort zone by trying new things. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, explore new dishes at your favorite cafe or take another route to class. Break up your daily routine with new habits and things, and you will adapt to change without pause for thought.
Your first internship will show how little you have learned at college. Employers don’t expect you to be perfect at everything, but most companies require you to improve over time and initiate professional development. Once you know which skills you lack, devise a plan to gain them. Most companies will invest in your professional development if you emphasize the benefits your boss will reap from your new skill set.
Explore gamification options to make your self-improvement plan more exciting. Set a goal and describe the characteristics you should possess once you reach it. Identify interim criteria for different development levels, from a Newbie to a Guru. Keep a detailed report of your progress through the levels; it will help with flagging motivation. Imagine how much more you will be worth to your employer once you fulfill the self-improvement plan.
They don’t teach flexibility and time-management at college, yet most companies list these skills as desirable for their employees. We have mentioned only five skills that will help you beat the competition though there are many more. We’ll talk about other useful skills to develop later. Whatever your major is, start working on these skills before you join the job hunt!