STUDENT LIFE / OCT. 16, 2014
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10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College

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College should be a learning experience where you receive an education, cultivate relationships and begin to develop skills that will be necessary in the workplace. Bill Coplin is an author and Director of Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He advised that “50 percent of the learning for their future career is not happening in the classroom.” That means the other 50% is acquired during your personal time on campus. How are you spending the latter 50% of time? Are you acquiring the right skills that will catapult your career up the ladder of success? This article will address 10 basic traits that employers would like prospective employees to learn while in college.

1. Become a Visionary

Do you know how to see the big picture? If you understand that your educational experience is split between the classroom and personal time on campus, then you are on the right track. If you know how to seize every experience as a learning opportunity, you are on your way to becoming a visionary. Your life will be a myriad of puzzle pieces put together during your lifetime to make one masterful design. Visionaries know how to maximize each puzzle piece—life experiences, life goals and life obstacles—for their greater good and that of those around them.

2. Diligence Pays Off

A second factor an employer would want you to learn is that hard work is always the best way toward achieving success. Don’t take the easy way out. Steer clear of laziness and behaving unethically. Do the hard work now. Study and make the most of your education so that you can continue to thrive in a life that is always seeking new experiences and wanting to learn. This drive to work diligently will carry over into your professional career and gain the attention of management.

3. Find Your Passions

Most employers will tell you that they want to hire employees who are passionate about the work they will be doing. Without passion for the job, the journey will soon become tiresome and be a burden. That will decrease the work productivity and not benefit the employer. Take the time during your college years to discover your passions so that you can quickly ascertain the best career path for your life.

4. Learn Networking Skills

We live in a world where we’re all connected and even more so today because of the Internet. Employers want prospective employees to understand the power in being a good networker, but not solely for career purposes. You must understand the basic human condition of the need to belong. Live by the golden rule where you behave like you’d want others to behave to you. Find value in your work and in life and in others. Learn how to develop healthy relationships with friends and family and that will translate into cultivating solid workplace connections.

5. Develop Communication Skills

Communication skills pertain to the written word as well as verbal and nonverbal interactions. If you fail in one of those three areas, you will have a more difficult time succeeding in life. During the college years, develop your skills in each of those areas. You must find the way to communicate with clear and concise speech and writing. Your future employer does not have the time to waste in dealing with long-winded speakers with unskilled writing techniques. This step also pertains to how you interact with colleagues. Learn how to better deal with people by understanding your own personality and the various other types.

6. Build Your Resume

Your resume will summarize your educational and work experience as well as describe your current skillset. As a young college student, your resume won’t be lengthy. However, as with anything in life, you need to start somewhere. Your resume will grow and need to be updated constantly in life as you develop and life changes occur. This step also means more than simply typing out a resume. You must actually work a part-time job, volunteer in organizations, join the college newspaper and live life so that you will have experience to add to the paper.

7. Improve Your Skillset 

It is important to an employer that you have the necessary skillset for the job that you are applying. During the college years you are receiving an education and gaining work experience. This is the time where you are improving your skillset. Hone your word processing abilities, become a student of new technology and always seek to learn the specific skills for your career choice. Understand that if you want to succeed in life, you will continually need to learn new skills and technology.

8. Expect the Unexpected

This step involves learning how to accept that change is inevitable. Just when you think you have mastered a task, you need to learn something new. The same applies to the ever changing and improving technology. If you are not a friend of change, you need to develop the ability to bend and sway in the wind. Learn how to think outside the box and begin to expect the unexpected.

9. Admit Your Mistakes

Human error is to be expected. No one is perfect so accept that fact and move on. However, an employer wants to see that a prospective employee knows how to admit a mistake and then work to right the situation. Don’t blame someone else. Successful individuals know how to accept responsibility for their actions.

10. Be a Team Leader

If you can demonstrate leadership ability during your college years, that is a positive trait that will catch the eye of many employers. They want employees who can be both team players, yet also rise to the occasion when a leader is needed. Seek out opportunities during college to test out your leadership skills.

If you want to succeed in life, the journey begins when you are younger and before you begin to develop bad habits. Utilize your college years to your advantage and learn how to become a better person and more able to help others grow and develop as well.

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