What Are the Most Important Career Skills Students Should Learn in College?
“The Top 5 Skills Every College Student Needs to Acquire Before Graduation,” an article that Christina DesMarais recently wrote for Inc., says that before graduating from college, today’s students should know how to . . .
- Develop for AI
- Understand Agile computer software
- Understand the importance of data and analytics for business intelligence
- Speak in public
We understand where Ms. DesMarais is coming from, even though public speaking seems like an odd egg alongside the other career skills she lists. But overall, the skills she cites can only help a young person launch a career today.
But at the same time, aren’t some critical career skills missing from her list? We are talking about classic skills that can benefit anyone as they launch and sustain careers . . .
- Excellent writing skills. Exceptional writers get noticed and get ahead, perhaps because they are in the minority today. We know one young woman, for example, who writes all the reports for her team at a top consulting firm, simply because she is the best writer in the group. Plus people who write well are generally perceived to be intelligent. No matter the reasons, good writing skills qualify college grads for success.
- Cultural literacy. College grads who have a far-ranging knowledge of history, people, trends, current news and events seem to be more likely to succeed than grads who do not. Young college graduates need not be intellectuals, but they will generally do better in their careers if they know who Beethoven and Monet were, what the Battle of Hastings meant, what “Quixotic” really means, and lots more. That kind of basic knowledge was once learned by most students in college liberal arts programs. It has become rarer today and for that reason, even more of a differentiator.
- Good global citizenship. In a time when more companies are doing business internationally, students who have an informed international perspective are more likely to succeed. Research conducted by the Student Research Foundation has found that today’s students are more likely to be good local or national citizens than they are to be good global citizens. College students can gain this kind of perspective by taking part in international study programs, by learning several world languages and by studying history and world politics.
And What about Life Skills?
When they were little, many of today’s college students attended schools where fundamental life skills were taught. Perhaps more college students would do well to revisit those skills before they begin professional life.
Life skills are taught in many elementary schools. For example, here are the skills taught in the Life Skills curriculum classes at The Donald Rheem School, a public elementary school in Moraga, CA . . .
Caring . . . Common Sense . . . Cooperation . . . Curiosity . . . Effort . . . Flexibility . . . Friendship . . . Initiative . . . Integrity . . . Organization . . . Patience . . . Perseverance . . . Problem Solving . . . Respect . . . Responsibility . . . Sense of Humor . . . De-Bug (the ability to shake it off if someone is bothering you).
If those aren’t solid career skills, we don’t know what are.
We’d love to help you reach your college dreams.
That’s why the Student Research Foundation is offering high school students and their families up to $15,000 in college scholarship funds! Learn more and Apply.
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