Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
STUDENT LIFE / JAN. 03, 2015
version 4, draft 4

5 Career Skills Colleges Don’t Teach

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Colleges teach you a lot of things. The problem is this isn’t enough to succeed in the modern world of work. Walk into any business and you’ll hear hiring managers complaining about how college students aren’t properly equipped to deal with the modern world of work. And the calls for college to better prepare students are growing louder by the day. We’ve compiled a list of five skills you need to learn that colleges don’t teach. Do you have any of these skills?

1. Persistence

The problem with college is it doesn’t teach persistence. You can easily complete an assignment a day before the deadline through a frantic haze of coffee following an all-nighter. The real world doesn’t work like this. You can’t sustain yourself through retirement with this sort of work ethic.

Furthermore, you need to learn to deal with disappointment. If you fail an assignment in college, you can usually make up what you lost with another assignment. This doesn’t happen in the real world. You may spend months and months fighting and clawing to accomplish a goal.

2. Networking

College social evenings don’t count as networking. Building up a strong social network puts you in contact with the people who can make things happen. Most college students won’t keep in contact with their friends after they leave. Furthermore, the chances are they aren’t going to help you in your future career. Colleges need to do more to get students closer to their chosen industries. As it stands, students are going into the real world without knowing a soul.

3. Responsibility

This is a big one because bosses want to know that you can lead and take responsibility for your actions. Colleges don’t teach this by their very nature because you can often miss lectures and work when you please. Life is extremely flexible and you rarely have to worry about any consequences.

In a real job, you work when you’re told to work. You can’t waltz in at midday because you went to a wild party the night before. Believe it or not, this is a massive culture shock for students just out of college.

4. Speaking Humbly

What happens in college if you offend someone or have an awkward conversation with them? That’s right, you can walk away and hopefully never see them again. They aren’t crucial to your future. It’s only a minor inconvenience that you constantly have to check blind corners in case you run into them.

Not so in the real world. You need to learn how to apologise and how to know when you’ve upset someone. You can’t avoid your boss for the rest of your career. You can’t avoid that co-worker who you said smells like cabbage. Being humble and being able to admit when you’re in the wrong is an important skill.

5. Handling Feedback Well

Feedback isn’t handled well in the college atmosphere. You get a grade that tells you how you did. The professional world doesn’t have grades it has feedback. Feedback is where you have a talk with your boss about your performance. They discuss what you could do better and what you did well. For many people, this is far more ambiguous. For students fresh out of college, this is hell because they have to think about their feedback. They can’t think that they were only a few marks away from the next level.

See also: Career Lessons I’d Teach My Younger Self

And students also have to learn to accept harsh criticism. Rarely in college will you receive feedback that rips you to shreds. It’s an entirely normal part of existing in the real world of work.

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