Five skills that will help you find and keep a job after college

by Grace

If you want to make sure you get a job after college…

1. Learn to sell. 
… if you’re really good at sales and your track record shows it, you’re always going to have a job….  Selling isn’t easy.  It’s hard work and it can be demoralizing.  That’s what makes the people who are good at it so valuable.

2. Learn to write really well. 
Writing is now many peoples’ preferred method of communication.  You simply can’t afford not to be good at it.  Clear writing is evidence of clear thinking….

3. Learn accounting. 
… It’s hard to envision a place of work that doesn’t have to manage money, pay employees, and make sure their tax returns are accurate.  All of those things depend on good accounting.

4. Learn how to keep computers working.   
If you can diagnose and fix computers, servers, and even networks, that’s a great line to have on your resume even if you’re looking for a job at an art gallery…. the one worker who actually knows how to diagnose problems and fix them, even though it’s not her job, is bringing a lot of value to the workplace.  She’s also saving the company potentially thousands of dollars in costs for outsourced IT support.  

5. Learn how to do good work.
The best way to get a good job is to be really good at your last job….every high school kid should get a part-time job at some point before you graduate…. You learn a lot about what you’re good (and not good) at, and what it takes to be successful.  Thrive at one job and you’ll have an advantage when you look to move on to your next one.  Have a string of successes by the time you graduate from college and you’ll be ahead of the competition.

Now, before you write off any of those as not being applicable to your field of interest, I’d just remind you that people who make yoga mats for a living still need to sell them.  Computer engineers still need to write emails and even proposals.  The head of a non-profit agency needs to know how to read a financial statement and balance a budget.  Anyone who uses a computer would benefit from knowing how to keep it working properly.  And since everyone leaves college hoping to get a job, previous work experience benefits every college grad.

This simple but wise advice comes from Kevin McMullin at Collegewise.

If you can combine #5 with any one of the others on this list, you will have a leg up on most of your competition.  The more of these skills you can add to your resume, the better you look to employers.  Any other ones you would add to this list?  (Showing up to work on time doesn’t count!)

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2 Responses to “Five skills that will help you find and keep a job after college”

  1. Bonnie – After I read your comment, I thought this list may actually be more appropriate for an entrepreneurial rather than a corporate situation. Computer skills, for example, may be valuable in some work environments but are often very valuable to a one-person start up.

    As for the writing, I think most people starting out in a career benefit from strong communication skills, including writing. Later on, as a person moves up the career ladder, he may be able to delegate writing tasks to someone else, who may end up stuck as a flunky or who may use writing skills to leverage his own career growth. That’s been my observation and is consistent with what I’ve often heard. Certainly it’s not universal and maybe it’s changing, but I think good business writing is considered very important.

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