A formal college education is a necessary step for many individuals to land their ideal job in the industry of their choice. But it can be discouraging to spend four years attending classes and paying tuition for a degree that might not land you a job in today’s competitive job market. So, what else do you gain by attending college — besides a four-year degree — that can ultimately help you land a job in the future?
- Soft skills. Many employers are now looking beyond “hard”, technical skills necessary to do the job (although, obviously, you still need to meet the qualifications of the job description) and instead focusing on the “soft” skills—communication, emotional intelligence, personality characteristics, etc.—that you can gain through interactions during college. These soft skills can set you apart from other candidates with similar qualifications.
- Leadership experience. Being involved in various groups and pre-professional organizations can help craft leadership skills necessary for success on-the-job. This experience should be highlighted on your resume, in your cover letter and professional portfolio, and during an interview through displaying titles held at various organizations and management skills learned.
- Accomplishment stories. Use class work, leadership and volunteer experience to form accomplishment stories to impress potential employers. These can be used in online profiles, on your resume and cover letter, and during phone and in-person interviews.
- Understanding of interests and skills. By completing various projects requiring different sets of skills, you learn what you enjoy doing most and where your weaknesses lie, which is an essential thing to understand before jumping into a career in your field.
The college experience can help teach you a lot – and it’s not limited to your chosen major. How else can recent grads translate their college experience into a job?