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Essential Workplace Skills for College Grads

Puja Lalwani
Fresh out of college and ready to take on the world; this is what describes the college grad. However, before the world is faced, developing some skills that will help in the workplace is essential. These skills have been enlisted here.
The transition from school to a workplace is huge and can be intimidating. Moving from a protected life to one that leaves you to fend for yourself requires coping with a lot of changes. You may have worked in the past, but now you are expected to develop professionalism in your work and develop skills that will help you move to better positions in life.
A lot of organizations find college grads unprepared for the workplace, which is when their self-esteem receives a huge battering, and they find themselves unworthy of any job. However, working on certain skills right from the start can help cushion this blow and make the process a little smoother.

Job Skills that Every College Student Needs

Every job needs you to possess certain skills that will help you perform it at your best. Remember that all employers seek professionalism from their employees.
Even if you are new to the workforce, you may be given a short period of time to model your working style based on that of the organization; this does not mean you have forever to learn. You have to be quick and efficient to be noticed and recognized on the job.

Language and Communication Skills

Language and communication skills are tested even before you are hired. The manner in which you speak at an interview, your manner of writing if there is a written test, and your body language are all tested at an interview itself.
Even if you were able to control your text abbreviations and slang in interview, how long are you going to cover it up on job? You have to learn to speak good English and write with appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation. Even if you are sending a short e-mail to a colleague, ensure that you write complete words and make it professional.
Communication also involves listening skills as well as passing on messages to others. For this, take notes if you have to, ask questions to clarify whether you have thoroughly understood the message, and pay attention to words that have been stressed upon. This will help you communicate messages effectively and will work in your favor.

Technological Skills

Knowledge of the basic use of computers and technology is expected from all college grads. You will be trained to use specific company software, but remember that no organization functions without the use of technology.
Make sure you are at least aware of the use of MS Office and the Internet as your basics. This technological knowledge may then be used even for basic jobs such as scheduling, and more important jobs such as making advanced presentations.

Productive Thinking

You are hired as a junior and are given mundane jobs until something big comes along. So what? Are you not going to show how productive you are? Are you not going to let your organization know that you are as capable of thinking productively and out-of-the-box as they are?
You are not going to get opportunities to do this. You have to grab these opportunities where you can diplomatically make suggestions that will be used and will get you noticed. Moreover, productive thinking also revolves around effective utilization of resources. If that is what you believe in, make sure you showcase it efficiently.

Ability to Work without Assistance

Every college grad is spoon fed only in initial days after being hired. Thereafter, you must take orders and process them correctly and show your independence or ability to work without assistance while working in any organization.
Understand your liberty to take decisions and utilize it effectively; but make sure you stand by every decision you make. The ability to work without assistance is associated with productive thinking. Combine the two and you will find yourself highly appreciated within the workplace.

Leadership Skills

Are you willing to take charge of your job? Are you willing to lead a group of other colleagues toward successful goal achievement? Employers expect even fresh college grads to possess basic leadership skills.
Leadership is an important aspect of the basic management skills one is expected to possess. A leader has to understand the importance of teamwork and the actual job of a leader.
A leader does not impose decisions; she/he makes sure that every point of view is given due respect and an ultimate decision is achieved through healthy communication. What is important is that you should not hesitate when given additional responsibility, and you should have faith in yourself to be able to lead a group to success within the organization.

Openness to Change

How adaptable are you? Can you change your ways to merge into those of the organization? As mentioned earlier, you are given some amount of time initially to adapt yourself. This time has to be utilized efficiently and you should be able to work based on the organization's requirements well. This does not mean that you cannot have a unique working style.
It only means that this style should not go against the rules laid out by the organization. Simply put, introduction of new methods of working should be positively embraced and implemented at the earliest.

Workplace Relationship Development

Fostering healthy working relationships in the workplace is of utmost importance, whether you have to work in a team, as a leader, or independently.
You have to be accepted by your colleagues, superiors and subordinates, as well as be able to accept them with all that they have to offer. Further, you have to be able to develop healthy relationships with people who have the power to change the course of your career, such as your immediate supervisor.
Not many pay attention to this aspect, but you never know how one person can alter your entire career, which is why you should respect every relationship you forge in the workplace.
While you may not be excellent in every aspect, it is important that you possess each of the aforementioned workplace skills in a significant amount to prove that you are capable of learning and taking on additional responsibilities. Also remember that you are going to be chided or yelled at; the workplace can sometimes be brutal.
However, these setbacks should only be perceived as temporary failures that will strengthen you to perform better in the future. Being able to learn from your mistakes is one skill that everyone around you will definitely appreciate. Hang in there, and see your future shine bright when you cultivate and utilize these skills.