Top Soft Skills to Develop in College
When you’re in college, it’s not just technical skills that you need to develop, such as the knowledge you acquire by completing the main courses in your degree. You’ll also need “soft skills”, such as problem solving, conflict resolution and critical observation. Though these won’t typically be emphasized in your class outlines, and may not even show up in the description of a job you’d like to apply for, soft skills can still go a long way in making you stand out from other candidates. If you list your school and your technical skills on your resume, this may get you an interview. However, it’s your soft skills and other intangibles that will really help land you the job.
In addition to being useful in your career, soft skills will also help you in your everyday life and bring all sorts of positive repercussions. Without further adieu, here are the top soft skills to develop while in college.
Communication and collaboration
If you work with computers, it’s easy to think that you don’t have to talk to anyone. You can just sit at your terminal, accomplish your tasks and coordinate your work with others via email and online messaging. But being able to ask the right questions, listen actively and maintain eye contact are tremendously helpful skills that can help you connect on a personal level with others and develop stronger bonds. In meetings or group situations, you’ll also gain a better understanding of other people around, including what they are saying non-verbally. Even if you dislike communicating, by forcing yourself to talk directly others, as opposed to rely on online messaging or other tools, you open yourself to new situations and new possibilities that will greatly enrich your life. Give it a try!
Young professionals in today’s workforce often need to multitask and have a good understanding of their own work pace. Fortunately, college is the ideal environment to learn solid time management skills. You’ll be tackling multiple classes at once and will have to determine your own schedule. Learning to be self-sufficient during this stage will come in handy for the rest of your life, so make sure to stay organized and on top of things!
Life will test you with different challenges that don’t necessarily have clear solutions, meaning being able to think critically and having strong problem-solving skills can help you defuse certain situations before they grow out of control. At work, being a good problem solver means being able to adjust to different issues as they arise, and come up with innovative solutions for them.If you’d like to become a better problem solver while in college, try going beyond simply memorizing facts and other data points for your classes, and instead think critically about the material being presented.
Being a good leader is not necessarily intuitive, but college provides an excellent environment to hone your skills. Whether you join a club related to an extracurricular activity or lead a study group, helping others keep up with school news or determine which educational articles to focus on, keep in mind that being a leader doesn’t mean taking all the decisions. It means being mindful of the group, their needs and suggestions and ideas, and setting a good example to steer the group towards what you feel is the optimal path.