How To Prepare Students For The Workforce

Chris Babbitt
September 5, 2019
September 19, 2019

The job market is changing, and with it, the expectations of top companies are too. The focus is more and more on employing candidates with the right skills. And even then, students and recruiters agree that there is a soft skills gap. According to a LinkedIn Learning Report, training for soft skills is a no. 1 priority in the workforce.

While colleges prepares students with the right academic learning and degree, there are five most in-demand soft skills, according to LinkedIn, which student affairs professionals and academic advisors can help students develop along the way.

Skills really matter the most, quote by Janelle Gale

1. Creativity

While companies grow to rely more and more on artificial intelligence, they place a higher value on employees able to do the one thing robots can't: be creative.

Developing creativity as a skill in college students isn't as simple as sitting them in front of some paints and brushes. Rather, you'll want to focus on creativity as it is useful in the workplace. For example, you can solicit students' assistance in helping you brainstorm a new initiative for your office which demands innovative and creative ideas.

2. Persuasion

All businesses have one thing in common: the desire to sell a product or service. This requires many skills, but persuasion is perhaps the most central.

In order to encourage student growth in persuasion, consider offering a workshop in which students learn to pitch a new workplace strategy or tool to their hypothetical teammates or managers. Emphasize practical application of the skill, requiring students to really prepare and present their pitch.

3. Collaboration

The main unit of a modern office is no longer the individual employee, but the work team. Student success in the workplace relies on their ability to collaborate with others.

Put together teams of students and have them collaborate in doing a practical task together. This can range from planning an event or meeting to resolving a hypothetical team conflict.

4. Adaptability

Technology develops today more rapidly than ever, creating changes in the workplace on a regular basis. Successful employees must be able to adapt to these with ease.

For this soft skill, you can ask your students to use a technology they are unfamiliar with to complete a given task. Another option is to give them an assignment to work on, changing the scope of the assignment several times throughout the time they are working.

5. Time Management

One thing that doesn't change in the workplace is the importance of managing one's time in order to meet deadlines and prove a reliable employee.

The best way to develop students' time management skills is to give them a task that will require them to manage their time. For example, task your students with putting together a sample resume for a fictional peer based on a prepared brief in under 30 minutes. This will hone their resume-writing and time management skills at the same time.

5 necessary soft skills

And finally, the best way for your students to prove to employers that they possess these in-demand soft skills is by referencing the skills in their CVs and during job interviews. Encourage your students to highlight their soft skills in their resumes. They can explicitly mention how they used creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management in previous roles, employing concrete examples whenever possible. They should also be prepared for citing these examples in job interviews. It is recommended to conduct mock interviews where students can practice selling their soft skills in a natural, convincing way.