Office of Continuing Education

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February 13th, 2019

In addition to technical skills that are needed for any particular job, employers also look for new graduates to have soft skills that are often not explicitly taught in any college class you may have had. While soft skills are often more intangible than, for instance, being able to build a computer network from scratch, they are no less important to your functioning in the workplace.

Here are the top soft skills employers look for when they hire new graduates and how you can show your ability in these areas.

1. Emotional intelligence.

How do employers know that you have emotional intelligence? They know when you can show empathy and understanding for your co-workers and when you keep yourself under reasonable control even in stressful situations. You don’t have to be a robot–robots don’t have emotions, after all. But there are better ways to handle your emotions than to stuff everything inside or to explode (or both), and it’s up to you to find them.

2. Communication skills.

Effective communication does not always come naturally; sometimes it must be learned. Learning to be a good listener, to convey information clearly, and to get the information you need by asking questions are all aspects of communication that can be important in the workplace.

Group of students sitting at a table with notebooks and tablets.

Soft skills can be learned in the classroom, which may be faster than learning from experience.

3. Analytical/critical thinking.

Employees who can think through a situation and figure out solutions to problems are valuable to employers. Why? Because they don’t need constant hand-holding and can be trusted to get things done without a great deal of supervision, leaving management free to handle the many other things in their area of responsibility. Not only that, but employees with good analytical skills can often come up with even better ways of doing things, which can help the productivity and profitability of the company as a whole.

4. Organization and time management.

You probably weren’t born with the ability to organize your day and manage your time. Your teachers might have worked mightily to teach you these skills while you were in school, but college life probably undid your more structured habits in most cases. Now you have a full-time job and want to get your work done in the most organized way, so you need to relearn these skills, probably at a higher level than you ever did before.

5. Project management skills.

Project management requires some organizational and time management skills, but goes far beyond simple organization to include the psychology involved in assigning the right tasks to the right people and the support and follow-through skills to make sure tasks are getting done when they need to. Project management skills are particularly useful when you want to move into leadership positions or get promoted to management.

CCSU offers continuing education courses that teach soft skills like these that can benefit new graduates and help them make progress in a much faster way than learning from experience. View open courses to see what we offer in a number of different areas.