Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
STUDENT LIFE / JUL. 12, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Learn Skills You Will Need When You Graduate

Before you enter into the workforce after graduation, there are certain skills that you need to learn. These are not skills that are necessarily “taught” in the classroom. However, they can and should be learned during your educational experience in college or university. There are several life skills that you need to learn in order to prepare for your future after graduation. This article will discuss those skills and share ways that you can learn them through your college experience before graduation.

Life Skills Needed to be Learned Before You Graduate


1. Become an Independent Individual

Independence is an important life skill that can be learned during the college experience. As a child, your parents took care of you and you were dependent on them. Through your teenage years and into college, hopefully you have been learning how to leave the nest and become more independent and dependent on yourself for survival. Some “helicopter” parents hover over their children and stifle their blossoming into independent adults. For example, try to handle some of your college problems—like bad grades, issues with professors or roommates—yourself before calling home to mom and dad. Ascertain the proper channels to go through to get advice and move forward with a plan. However, don’t shut your parents out completely. The point is to begin to cultivate your own problem solving skills which will help you in your future professional and personal life.

2. Become a Teachable Individual

Learning to become independent also means knowing when you need to ask for advice or help from others in your life. It is important to surround yourself during this growing journey with wise people—such as your parents, professors, guidance counselors and older college friends—who can offer you support, encouragement and sage advice. During this process you will learn how to sift through their advice and take the good from the bad or what works for your current life situation. Learning to ask for advice will get you accustomed to turning to future mentors and managers in the workplace. This step also involves learning how to accept constructive criticism from others. It’s not always easy to hear criticism for your work or performance. However, you always need to find a way to intelligently analyse their comments and use their feedback for personal growth and development. This is another learned skill which will help you in the workplace as you develop your professional career.

3. Become a Prepared Individual

It is important to learn how to become a prepared individual. You can begin to learn this skill during your college experience by paying attention in class, completing your assignments on time and always coming to class on time and prepared to work. During your college years, that is the time to begin preparing for your future career after graduation. Begin to build your resume with your academic, work and extra-curricular experiences. Learning this skill of preparedness will serve you well in the workplace as you are basically in training for working for your prospective manager and boss.

4. Become a Mature Individual

Attending college should be a fun experience. However, it is also a time to learn how to become a mature individual. Sometimes you need to think about your future and learn to say no to all the fun and games and say yes to studying and working diligently. For example, start to use your head and make wise choices. If you have an early morning class, maybe you shouldn’t give in to temptation and head out to a party the night before. Find the balance between focus and fun. Starting to cultivate a mature perspective and behavior patterns will train you for your future job.

5. Become an Assertive Individual

This step was something that I needed more work on during my college and beginning career years. I’m more of an introvert and don’t like to deal with conflict. At times, that caused me to never speak up for what I actually wanted. It is important to understand that you won’t get what you want out of life if you don’t take a chance and ask for it. If you don’t think that you received a fair grade, be assertive and speak to your professor about it. However, come with proof of your opinion and speak in a mature manner without becoming defensive. Accept the fact that, even though you are being assertive, you may not always get what you want. However, this is a life skill that will help you throughout your professional career; especially when it comes time to asking for a promotion or a raise.

6. Become a Critical Thinking Individual

Having the skill to think critically is vital to a successful professional career. This skill can be learned during your college experience. You will need to begin to cultivate such skills in your academic classes. However, there will be many opportunities during your college years where you can learn how to think critically and solve problems. Don’t wait for anyone else to fix your problems for you. As you continue to practice critical thinking skills, you will grow and develop as a person. Professionals, who are able to think outside the box and become positive problem solvers, are highly valued by employers. In a article, Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul shared on learning the art of critical thinking.  

7. Become a Time-Conscious Individual

Learning how to manage your time is another important skill that you can learn while in college. The amount of the academic workload will increase from what you had to do in high school. Taking a full course load will require good time management skills as you begin to prepare for classes and complete projects and assignments. Preparing for exams well in advance will be more to your benefit than cramming for them the night before. Learning how to efficiently manage your time will help you in your future job by impressing your boss and helping you to complete work projects on time while alleviating your stress. offers some helpful Time Management Skills and a management quiz as well as prioritisation and goal setting resources.

There are many skills that can be learned through your college experience before you graduate which can assist you in your future professional career. The seven skills that you need to learn during this journey have been outlined in this article. It is important to see every opportunity during this process as a chance to grow and develop as a new professional.


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