College isn’t just a means to an end, an opportunity to get a degree and open yourself up to entry-level jobs that now require a certain amount of education. Instead, you’re there to become trained in the skills employers are looking for so you can make yourself the most attractive job candidate possible. If you’re curious about what these skills are, especially in such a rapidly changing economy, keep reading to learn what you may need to brush up on.
Millennials have a reputation as a generation known for collaboration, so employers have come to expect that from 20-somethings. You don’t necessarily have to want to work as part of a team every waking minute of every day, but you should be able to demonstrate the capability. Your manager wants to know they can leave you alone in a room with your coworkers, and all of you will produce results.
You don’t have to have studied statistics in college, but you should have a good working knowledge on how to analyze large amounts of data. This is so your employer can give you raw data, leave you alone with it, and know you’re more than capable of drawing meaningful conclusions from it. It’s not an easy skill to acquire, but it is one that gets better over time, so start brushing up on it now.
We’re seeing more and more job openings for things like “social media manager”, but that’s an area that’s also getting integrated into regular jobs. Employers are realizing the importance of branding themselves through multiple channels, and expect you, the savvy 20-something college grad, to know the ropes. Don’t worry if your skills aren’t on the level of that of a computer programmer, as long as you know the basics of SEO and online marketing and media.
Before you shake your head at what seems like the most cliché job skill to ever have, communication is never so important as it is now. You’re battling distractions like smartphones, longer job schedules and less sleep, and employers who want more for less. So, if you can prove your ability to get a point across to people in your department and outside of the company, as well as the ability to listen to instructions the first time, you’ll be setting yourself apart from the competition.
The rise of cell phones has proven that technology is changing in leaps and bounds, and those who can’t keep up will simply get left behind. Nobody has the time or the energy to take you by the hand until you’re comfortable with the pace; you have to show agility from the beginning. And in today’s economy, which is still recovering from a hard-hitting recession, budgets are still tight, so you have to show you have the skills to get by with more creativity than wiggle room.
6. “Location Luck”
You’ve no doubt heard of the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and this applies to what we call “location luck”. You can have the fanciest degree in the world, but if you don’t know how to leverage it into the right job and employer, it won’t mean much at all. The top job candidates know how to make themselves appear at the right place at the right time, and that’s through a combination of countless hours of studying, preparing, and knowing an opportunity when one arises.
More and more college graduates are showing abysmal abilities when it comes to writing, which has never wavered in its importance as a must-have skill. Despite what you may think about reports being generated by plugging the right words into a software program, you still have to know how to write, create and edit your own. Show an employer you can’t tell the difference between they’re/there/their, and they’ll show you the door.
8. Technical Proficiency
You don’t have to know how to develop apps or write sophisticated code, but you should be somewhere between there and knowing how to turn a computer on. The digital and analogue worlds are increasingly colliding, and it’s an expectation employers have of recent college grads that they know their way around computers. Plus, if something ever goes lightly wrong on the system you’re using, imagine how impressed your boss will be if you can fix it so tech support doesn’t have to be called in.
9. Problem Solving
What any employer wants is to show you how to fish so you can feed yourself, not handle you with kid gloves every day you’re there. You’re in the big leagues now, so you have to act like a professional and part of that is learning how to solve problems on your own. A client won’t return your calls? Figure out how to get a hold of them. Numbers don’t add up in a report? Figure out why. If you can show you’re confident and not afraid to take careful risks in the name of pulling in more for your company, your employers will have a tendency to overlook minor mistakes.