By Jama Thurman, Career Services Manager and Counselor
Employers today know students possess valuable technical skills and knowledge related to their degree programs; however, there are additional skills employers believe students lack. Today, employers are looking for students who possess strong interpersonal and communication skills. Employers also believe many students lack professionalism and are deficient in both written and verbal communication. Often referred to as “soft skills,” employers most often seek the following soft skills: leadership, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, work ethic, organization and customer service.
Employers look for these skills on your resume and cover letter.
- You can show leadership and teamwork skills by being involved in clubs and organizations. At Hodges University, you can participate in any or all the academic and/or community service-based clubs and organizations offered. Hodges’ clubs and organizations include the Allied Health Club, American Legion Post 397, Communication Club, Fisher School of Technology Society, Fort Myers Ambassadors, Naples Ambassadors and Psychology Club.
- Communication, organization and writing skills are demonstrated by the document’s structure and appearance. Your resume and cover letter are examples of your work and should be well written, easy to read and free from any errors. If you are unsure of how to format your resume and/or cover letter, Hodges University’s Career Services can help. Our career counselors can help you draft and review your resume to ensure it reflects your educational, professional and skills-based experience prior to applying for a job.
- You can demonstrate your customer service and problem-solving skills by describing your work or school projects. You can expect in an interview to discuss specific instances when you had to identify and solve a problem, or maybe the employer will request you answer a “tell us a time when…” question. Including specific work/school projects on your resume and/or cover letter can serve as examples for you to use when entering the interview process.
- Work ethic can be displayed by attending work and school concurrently and maintaining a high GPA.
While your written communication skills are demonstrated in the resume and cover letter, your verbal communication skills and professionalism are revealed in the first phone call and interview. This is your opportunity to speak confidently, dress professionally and show a positive attitude and enthusiasm.
Verbal communication is key when attempting to land a job. No matter what the position, you will most certainly be answering phone calls and participating in face-to-face meetings, which means strong verbal communication is one of the most important “soft skills” you can possess. Employers will be looking for this skill during your interview process. Can you answer questions effectively and coherently? Are you using “um” or “like” with every response? If you need assistance in better preparing your interview, joining Hodges’ Communication Club can help improve your verbal communication skills. Also, Hodges’ Career Services offers mock interviews to help you gain the confidence and reassurance before the big day. To achieve its mission, Career Services adheres to the principle of “preparing students to present themselves effectively as qualified candidates entering the workforce.”
Your professional demeanor is also important and should show through in your appearance (i.e. attire, cleanliness of hair and nails), your body language and your ability to maintain eye contact throughout the interview.
When hiring college students, employers report the top four factors that influence them in the hiring process:
- College major
- Leadership positions
- Extracurricular activities
If you want to develop, utilize or improve your soft skills, get involved with clubs and organizations, volunteer, or attend professional development and networking meetings. As always, if you need additional help, contact Hodges’ Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.