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College Lessons and the Job Market

If this will be your first job out in the real world, you may be feeling a little anxious about the kinds of adjustments you’ll need to make to your lifestyle and the impression you’ll make on your new boss and co-workers. Let us try to put you at ease. Many of the skills you picked up in college will come in handy in the job market, from the written and oral communication skills you picked up in rhetoric, English, and speech courses to the compromise and leadership you had to exercise while working in groups on projects. You’re already ready for that new job. Check out more below on why.

Communication

Whether it’s written or oral, the communication skills you pick up on college campuses will come in handy in the real world. That speech class you stressed about will make it easier for you to relate to presentations at work, and the effort that goes into preparing for them and giving them. The presentations you gave in front of your peers, especially those that were followed by constructive criticism from both the professor and other students, will surely help you speak up at your job and become more comfortable voicing your opinion in an office environment. The countless essays you had to turn in have made you a better writer, an important quality to have in most industries. Being a good writer could also help you land an interview in the first place, as most employers will ask for cover letters to go along with your resumes and applications. So if you’re still in college and wondering what good will come of this or that class, the payoff may not come until a bit later, when you’re wowing your co-workers with the communication skills you honed in college.

Group Work

You probably found yourself in a number of situations in college where you felt like you would be more productive if you weren’t required to work in a group. Preferring your independence isn’t a bad thing, and will come in handy when you’re looking to meet deadlines and complete projects without much outside supervision. But those group assignments in college will be more helpful than harmful to you once you’re out in the real world. Most industries will require some degree of group work, whether that’s team meeting, collaborative projects, or temporary group assignments. If you were more of a follower rather than a leader in college, know that the weak links in the workplace will be found out eventually. If you were the bossy type, take a step back. It’s fine to want to lead, but it’s also important to know your role. Your co-workers may not respond well to a bossy newcomer with little real power. Take what you learned about the positives of group work in college with you when you’re expected to participate in your first team activity at your new job.

Time Management and Organization

College can be a balancing act at times. You’re expected to keep on top of schoolwork, spend some time on your social life and extracurricular activities, and often devote at least a few hours a week to making some money at a part-time job to help cover your college costs. Those balancing skills will come in handy, especially when you’re getting used to the pace of your new job. While you’ll no longer be able to spend hours in that 9-to-5 time span napping or socializing, or finding things to help you procrastinate on whatever it is you should be doing, how you got through college despite those bad habits will help you be successful in the real world. If you struggled with both time management and organization, it’s time to work on those skills. Most employers will expect you to handle multiple tasks at once — and be successful doing so — and complete things before or on deadline. Develop a system that will help you prioritize tasks and keep on top of your employer’s expectations.

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