What skills distance the winners from the losers? How will you stand head and shoulders above the crowd of applicants? Will merely having a degree, with limited to no work experience, be sufficient to interest an employer? Is making the Dean’s list enough for an attractive offer? Students beware: the economy has flooded the job market with well-qualified candidates making this an employers market. Because the competition for jobs is so intense, you will need a lot more than good grades and enthusiasm. Proactive students need to distinguish themselves from other applicants and begin actively developing key skills employers in the 21st century workforce look for in a candidate. Top qualities that will set you apart will include:
- An Aptitude for Technology
- Teamwork Skills
- Creative Problem Solving Skills (the ability to think outside the box)
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Intercultural Competence (the ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups)
To get a jump-start on your career, self-motivated students will get involved with extracurricular opportunities. The late Edgar Dale once said, “In the classroom there is more teaching than learning. Outside the classroom there is more learning than teaching. Some students are so busy going to classes they have little time to get an education.” Employers look favorably upon students who have involved themselves in campus organizations, experiential learning opportunities (Internships) involvement in volunteer/community service work, or part-time work experience.
For some, the transition from college to the real world can be exciting, intimidating, exhilarating, and/or exhausting. Don’t wait until the last semester of your senior year: get involved in campus organizations and activities; and visit the Career Development Center sooner rather than later!