The world of work can be a culture shock for those high school graduates who have never been into a corporate culture. Students need to know that a college degree might get you in the door for an interview and increase your earning potential, but it’s only a part of the employment equation. To land on the job, employers aren’t only looking at what you know; they want to know what you can do. After all, they have a big pool to choose from.
Unfortunately for students, skills are largely developed through experience in real life learning labs — such as a part-time job, an internship, volunteer work, and campus activities. Whether or not professional skills are taught in the class curriculum, students can treat each of their classes like it’s their career to get the experiential learning they need to be prepared for the world of work.
Treat Your College
as Your Job
Use your class time to work on making a good impression on the professor by dressing professionally, using positive body language, and taking the time to introduce yourself to professors and classmates. Also, for a variety of reasons, make it a priority to go to class on time, turn in assignments, and get involved in class discussions.
Meet Your Professors
In the world of work, you’ll learn more from your mentors than from your managers. Overcome any fears of intimidation with higher-ups through practice building relationships with your professors. When you get into the workforce, you’ll be primed to talk to mentors in your field who can help you advance in your career.
Practice Active Listening Skills During Lectures
Lectures offer a perfect opportunity to improve active listening skills. Work to fully understand the material presented and to ask relevant questions. Practicing these skills will help increase job-readiness while also helping to understand the course material better.
Projects to Practice Leadership and Teamwork Skills
Group projects are an excellent opportunity to practice skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, and problem solving. Group work is a great opportunity to practice both working as a team and taking the lead.
Improve Self-Management Skills
Students have a lot to balance, and college is a great opportunity to put self-management skills to use. Some people may self-manage by using tools like planners and study groups. Others may simply need to turn off their cell phone and computer when studying in order to focus. When it comes to finding out the best way you learn, study, and work, practice makes perfect.
Learn to Love Challenge
Employers value a person who is willing to tackle challenges head-on. It is far more important for students to challenge themselves than to maintain a perfect GPA. In the long run, the classes that are easy A’s simply aren’t worth it. Learning through a challenging course builds confidence you will use well into your career.
Employers are looking for new hires who possess the know-how and the soft skills to get the job done. This year, don’t just dress for the job you want, be the professional you want to be. Now is the time to start creating your professional presence. Make a bold statement with your actions and your words.
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