“Soft Skills”: Professional Advice for the Workplace

By Nia Scott
Staff Writer

On Thursday at 2 p.m., in SciTech, the Career Development Center cosponsored a workshop with Alpha Omicron Pi called Professional You – Soft Skills Development.

The presentation was given by Daria Wielebinksi, the Director of the Career Development Center and a graduate student.

Two handouts were given to all that attended.

The first was about how to identify your transferable skills that have been gained through work experience, internships, or life experience.

The second handout was about career readiness and explained seven categories that are essential to being ready to join the workforce.

They began with explaining soft skills and how important they are in the workforce.

Most employers expect college graduates to gain soft skills during their time in college or before their first “adult” job.

Soft skills are the skills that most employers assume you have gained from campus work, clubs, internships or life experiences.

The presentation went in depth explaining the seven categories from the handout because the Career Development Center saw those as the most desirable soft skills to have.

The first one covered was Professionalism and Work Ethic. Employers want you to already know how to be professional when they hire you.

The ways to gain this soft skill is learning punctuality, time management and understanding the importance of a professional work image, which can all be learned from work experience or life experience before going to get that first job.

It is important to be professional in the workplace so you are taken seriously and can land that dream job.

The next category was Problem Solving.

It’s one thing to be trained by a job to fix certain work related problems, but employers want you to be independent enough to solve some things on your own.

Some ways to gain this skill are through exercising sound reasoning and analytical thinking and using knowledge, facts and data to solve problems and make decisions.

Teamwork and collaboration are essential soft skills to have before applying to jobs.

Employers want someone that can get along with everyone and easily fit in with the people that already work there.

For college students it shouldn’t be an issue to pick up this skill because we work with each other all time in group projects, in our clubs, or living with a roommate for the first time.

Take what you have learned from those situations and carry it with you for life.

Communication is the number one skill that employers want their new hires to have beforehand.

They want college graduates to be able to articulate their thoughts clearly and effectively and to have strong public speaking skills.

There are many ways to gain communication skills and it is easy to learn it in college, the key is being able to transfer those soft skills to the workplace.

Another important skill is being able to use technology effectively.

Employers except that people born during this age of technology should already be able to do basic things like effectively use Microsoft Office and social media websites.

If you’re not already adept at technology consider taking a technology elective to help brush up on those skills.

Employers are also looking for leadership.

They want college students that can take charge if need be and lead a group of people.

Not everyone is born a leader, so this skill might be a little harder to learn than the others but through school, work, internships, and clubs, one can learn to organize, prioritize and delegate work.

The last soft skill is to have attitude and enthusiasm. Companies want to hire graduates that are excited about working for them and don’t come to the workplace everyday with an unhappy attitude.

Also they are looking for a helpful attitude, someone always ready to jump in and help out where they are needed.

The presentation ended with a quiz being handed out so that we could see if we have good soft skills.

The quiz was 10 questions and it definitely helped to see if we had good soft skills and knew how to use them in a workplace.

For more help on learning about soft skills and how to transfer them onto a resume visit the Career Development Center, they’re located on the third floor of the Union.

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