What are Soft Skills and Why do They Matter?

Employers want students with soft skills – what does that mean?

Every week there’s a news article about the need for college students to have effective communication and interpersonal skills. But, what does that really mean? How do you acquire and then demonstrate these skills to employers?

Let’s focus on 5 key communication skills employer’s want:

  • Ability to carry on a conversation
  • Ask pertinent and interesting questions
  • Listen actively
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Write effectively

Once you know what employers are looking for, you can search out opportunities where you can practice these skills.

Ideas where you can practice:

  • Join a club or organization and volunteer in areas such as recruiting, new member events, or a speaker series where you have the chance to meet and introduce guest speakers
  • Take advantage of opportunities to meet 1:1 with your professors or TA’s to build relationships and practice these skills
  • Get a part-time job or volunteer for a non-profit where one of your responsibilities is engaging with customers

Everyone can acquire these skills – some of us just need more practice than others! How do you plan on growing and developing these soft skills?

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