Thursday, Apr 28, 2022
These are the real-world skills that employers value, according to a career expert.
What are soft skills and why are they important?
Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, are a combination of behaviors or personality traits, professional equitique, problem-solving abilities and other characteristics that help measure how you’ll navigate the workplace. Though soft skills seem undervalued in comparison to the technical knowledge, or hard skills, learned in the classroom, employers not only want candidates who can perform the duties of the position, but have the soft skills that contribute to organizational success.
Monster’s 2022 global Future of Work survey reported that 63% of employers are willing to hire someone with transferable skills and train them in other areas. In addition, the talent professionals surveyed for LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report stated that 89% of new hires don’t work out due to a lack of critical soft skills.
Attending college is crucial to obtaining knowledge in your selected field of study, but along the way, you can develop core competencies that will prepare you for long-term career success. Here are a few examples of the soft skills that employers are looking for, according to our career expert Iram Khan, assistant director of the Office of Career Development and Success at Rider University, and the various services offered at Rider to help you strengthen them.
Effective communication is essential to career success. Strengthening your verbal and written communication while in college can, directly and indirectly, allow you to convey your ideas and opinions clearly and concisely, collaborate with partners, lead discussions, and build strong networking relationships.
“Rider’s Career Services office offers one-on-one career coaching appointments to review professional documents such as resumes and cover letters and works closely with students to enhance their documents along with their basic communication skills,” Khan says. Additionally, Rider’s Academic Success Center and Writing Studio offer personal tutoring sessions to support students to improve their writing.
2. Critical thinking
Considering the various disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the workplace, now more than ever employers are in search of candidates who can use their critical thinking abilities to find opportunities in challenges and help reshape their organizations in innovative ways. At Rider, aside from developing these skills through coursework, our Engaged Learning Program, and integrated experiential learning opportunities through Enriched Career Experiences, will connect you with practical experience while providing you exposure to the professional world.
“During individual appointments, Career Services utilizes career assessment tools and evaluations to help students think outside the box when it comes to deciding which career options to pursue,” Khan says. “These personality assessments analyze and evaluate skills like critical thinking and problem solving when determining the best career fits.”
Using these assessments also helps career coaches to provide you with insight into the types of internship, co-op or shadow opportunities that you should consider pursuing as a student to hone both hard and soft skills.
Professionalism is integral to every aspect of your career. It makes a powerful first impression on employers by showcasing how you’ll conduct yourself at work and represent your company. While in college you’ll have multiple opportunities to foster your professional identity both inside and outside of the classroom.
Khan adds, “Using coaching appointments, we work with students on all things that would fall in the professionalism category - from dress to tone of speech, to written communication, to office and dining etiquette.”
4. Time management
Employers value employees who can effectively manage projects. Not only does project management showcase how well you’ll meet deadlines, but the methods and resources you use to plan, organize and manage your time. As a student, you’re bound to juggle various academic, personal and social responsibilities. At Rider, our continuing education counselors and Student Navigation Office can offer one-on-one support to help you adequately manage your time and commitments.
Strong leadership skills are key to advancing your career and achieving your professional goals. In college, opportunities to engage in leadership development can happen by assuming leadership roles in the classroom, campus clubs or organizations, community groups or co-curricular activities, and student employment.
“Career Development and Success offers the opportunity for students to enhance leadership skills by hiring them as student assistants in our office and giving them the chance to work with other students to take the lead in coaching them as they try to figure out how to use our office and resources,” says Khan.
No matter your area of study, Rider believes in the importance of integrating career development into your academic journey. We offer more than 70 undergraduate programs to adult learners, in business, education, liberal studies, science and the arts that can help you build your knowledge and prepare for your career ahead. Ready to learn more? Visit our continuing education web page or contact a counselor for more information.