5 Soft Skills Every College Grad Needs

It’s that time of year again. College commencements are taking place and there is a large influx of new college grads eager to enter the workforce. But what are employers really looking for in potential career candidates?

In a US News article, author Bradford Holmes writes; “Although a strong background in traditional ‘hard’ skills like writing, mathematics and science will always have its place in academic and career worlds, an increasing number of employers desire prospective employees with ‘soft’ skills.”

According to Holmes there are five very important soft-skills that are imperative to the success of college students:

  1. “Collaboration”. The article says, “People who succeed only when working alone will struggle in college and beyond, as the majority of careers require collaboration.” Having high Versatility has linked directly with enhanced collaboration skills. TRACOM research tells us that those with enhanced Versatility are 23% better at working in teams , and 22% more effective in managing conflict.
  2. “Communication/Interpersonal Skills.” Communication is key in today’s dynamic and often dispersed work teams. As a result, training in effective communication can no longer focus exclusively on leaders and salespeople. Holmes writes, “A common complaint among employers is that young people do not know how to effectively carry on a conversation and are unable to do things like ask questions, listen actively and maintain eye contact. The current prevalence of electronic devices has connected young individuals to one another, but many argue it has also lessened their ability to communicate face-to-face or via telephone.”
  3. “Problem-solving.” Problem-solving is one of 9 elements of TRACOM’s Resilient Mindset Model. Problem-solving is the ability to plan and resolve problems effectively. Those with a high degree of problem-solving ability generate innovative solutions to problems. They take the time to gather relevant information and plan carefully, using reason, logic, and creativity to make decisions.
  4. “Time Management.” The article states, “The ability to track multiple projects in an organized and efficient manner, as well as intelligently prioritize tasks, is also extremely important for students long after graduation​​.”
  5. “Leadership.” According to Holmes, “Companies wish to hire leaders, not followers… While it is important to be able to function in a group, it is also important to demonstrate leadership skills when necessary.”  Leaders with high Versatility foster innovation across all levels of an organization, giving their companies a global competitive advantage. Style awareness and Versatility lead to a deeper understanding of people’s personalities, giving leaders the confidence to approach each individual in a way that is guaranteed to resonate with their individual Style.