Businesses, ministries, non-profit organizations and community institutions need problem-solvers. Because life is full of problems. And somebody needs to solve them!
As you work to practically equip your student with the skills they will need in life, there are a few general skills that make people particularly good at solving problems and particularly valuable for businesses.
Employers are looking for skilled people. But that doesn’t just refer to specific technical skills. Sure, an engineering firm wants someone with engineering skills. A hospital wants doctors and nurses with medical skills. But there are a few skills that transcend industries and fields. These are “soft” skills. They’re proficiencies that set people apart as valuable team members and problem-solvers.
Here are a few of those “soft” skills that employers are looking for, across a wide range of industries.
This one may top the list at number one.
The ability to communicate is key to problem solving and creating value in the business world and beyond.
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Communication has changed so much in the last twenty years. The digital revolution has made communication simultaneously easier and also more complex. We can call someone just about anywhere in the world. But digital technology has also complicated face-to-face communication and digital habits can be detrimental to our communication if they’re not controlled.
Communication is foundational to life and therefore it’s an essential skill for students to intentionally build as they prepare to launch into adulthood.
Many employers are simply looking for someone who will deliver the bare minimum: showing up to work and working hard. The standards have been lowered, some would agree, by necessity as the basic elements of strong work ethic and personal discipline are becoming rare.
Beyond simply “showing up” for work, employers want employees with strong time management skills. As one article from Rasmussen University points out, “Employers want to know they have employees who can manage their time well so managers don’t have to look over their shoulders to ensure they’re staying on track.” Another article from the job recruiting website Indeed.com described this as “self-management skills”.
Leadership & Interpersonal Skills
Another big category of soft skills that employers want to see in job candidates is leadership and other interpersonal skills. Whether their position is an official management position, most people who attend to their work with initiative, vision, and strong interpersonal skills will excel.
Interpersonal skills include emotional intelligence, teamwork, conflict management, and coaching. Building these skills early on in their life can help your student build strong relationships both at work and outside work.
Building Skill Through Practice
These skills don’t come naturally to everyone. They don’t just appear in your student’s life without intentional effort.
In past blog articles, we’ve examined a fresh education model that prioritizes practice and application. This model can be used to learn academic knowledge and technical “hard” skills but it can also be used to learn the soft skills that will set your student apart in the professional world.
Ascend by Unbound helps prepare students for impact in the real world by equipping them with core life skills, experience in fields that interest them, and a powerful community and network. Applications open soon.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.