When university life is finished, entering the job market for the first time can be a daunting experience. Your qualifications might get you on the career ladder. But succeeding at it? That is a different story altogether. That said, there are some valuable skills that you can learn that will help you make a transition,. Some you will learn while at college. Others you will pick up when you get started with your career. But even working in an ‘in between’ job will help. We’re going to take a look at some of the soft skills you need to succeed in your career. Let’s get started with the basics.
Given you have just qualified from a long and arduous degree, you might feel that you have already proven you are a motivated person. And to an extent, you are – but things are a little different in the workplace. You have to show up every day and give it your all if you want to succeed. If you don’t that promotion you were after will go to someone else instead. Someone with the drive and determination that you haven’t displayed. Self-motivation is one of the key factors in your success – and that of the companies you work for. Always look to improve yourself, and it won’t go unnoticed.
However, employers will only see motivation as a plus point if you combine it with commitment. They want to know you are the type who has ambition, of course. But they also want to know you are the sort of person who will stick around and do your damnedest to do your best work for the company. You might be in a rush to reach the top as soon as you leave college, but make sure you don’t trample all over people to get there. It’s easy to pick up a name for yourself as someone looking to cut as many corners as possible or leave companies in the lurch.
The workplace is a remarkably different environment to the college campus. Miss a lecture, and it’s doubtful your lecturer will even notice. Miss a day at work, however, and you could be causing chaos for your boss and colleagues. It’s also vital to be dependable while at work. If you say that you will do something, it means you have to do it. Once you own something at work, you can’t pass it on to someone else, and it is your responsibility alone.
Another major difference between college and the workplace is that you have to be so much more organized when you have a job. Yes, of course, you will know how to use your time well while doing your bachelors. But the reality is that you have a long time to do assignments at college in comparison to finishing tasks and projects at work. Life can quickly get in the way of things, both at work and at home. If you struggle with balancing your workload, it might be worth trying time management training classes. They could help you become more productive, organized, and far more efficient as a result.
Again, you might have had some experience with working in teams while at college. But teaming up with others for a project or presentation is a far cry from working in a team in employment. In fact, you will be a vital link in a chain of people that are all involved in a much bigger picture. And you will see the same old faces, day in and day out. It is vital that you can work well with others, and not just for one-off occasions.
While we are on the subject of teamwork, it’s important to point out communication as a critical soft skill. You will need to develop your communication skills over time, as you may find yourself talking with different people than you are used to. There will be other university graduates at your workplace, of course. But there will also be older people, employees who have worked there for years, and every type of customer you can imagine. Without excellent communication skills, you will find there is a glass ceiling to your progression. Ensure you are learning as much as possible. You will need to focus on speaking clearly, writing accurately, and even improving your body language.
All businesses are about solving problems for their customers. It might be a retail store being the closest place someone can buy a particular product. It could be a technology business that provides a service that makes dull tasks easier. The point is, it takes creativity of all kinds to run a business. And that means that the more creativity you can bring to the table, the more value you will have for your business. If you can solve problems in new and ingenious ways, you will find your career path will be full of opportunities.
Being flexible is also a great skill to have – and tied with creativity it can open a lot of doors for you. Wherever you end up working, there will be many occasions where things seem out of control and impossible to handle. Having the smarts to take everything in your stride and adapt to any given situation is the sign you could be ready for bigger things. Which brings us to our final point.
Some universities will train you to become a leader, but only an exclusive few get to enjoy this kind of education. For the vast majority of people, leadership is something that you will have to learn, assuming you aren’t a natural born leader. It’s why leadership courses are so popular – everyone wants to progress to the point that they can step up and take more responsibility. But the truth is you will also learn a lot by listening, observing, and working in the right environments.
After working so hard at college – for so long – it would be nice to think you are prepped for success. However, although your university education can give you a head start, there is still a lot to learn. The soft skills listed above will help you get your career off on the right foot.