Start Building These Essential Job Skills During College

Build these job skills during college to get a head start in your career.

For many employers, your major doesn?t always matter. Employers who are looking to hire new grads often focus more on skills. This is why it is critical that you develop essential skills while you are still in college.

Communication: While the importance of this skill seems self-evident, what may not be as obvious is the way in which communication permeates every aspect of a job. For example, it encompasses email, social media, PowerPoint, business reports and more. Some employers even say they want to see people who are capable of answering the phone and having phone conversations. In a world where more people have grown up with little phone use, some traditional communication skills are lacking but are no less important.

Creativity: Businesses that are quick to adapt and troubleshoot solutions are more likely to survive. So, organizations want creative and entrepreneurial employees. One way to do this during college is to double major, or have a major and a minor.

Collaboration: Employers want people who work well together with a range of ages, sexual orientations, races and the like. This goes back to creativity because studies show that the most creative workplaces are also the most diverse: more ideas, more thoughts, more solutions. One way to develop this skill during college is to volunteer for a wide range of charitable organizations, even those with missions you may not necessarily agree with.

Leadership: Forty percent of employers in The Hartford’s 2013 Millennial Leadership Survey said that too many college students lack leadership skills. Generational styles may account for some of this gap; recent graduates may be more likely to view leadership as a trait rather than something assigned via a title or hierarchy. Nevertheless, ways to develop leadership skills in college include heading up study teams, spearheading fundraisers and, yes, traditional ways such as running for student office.

Problem solving: Forty-six percent of employers in a Council for Aid to Education survey say that college grads have subpar problem-solving skills. Ways to work on that include immersing yourself in unfamiliar situations to broaden your critical thinking.