You will need to develop two sets of skills to enhance your employability—hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills include career-specific techniques, knowledge, and experience related to the tasks you will perform on the job. For example, to become a psychologist, you would need to develop hard skills such as knowledge of counseling theories, the ability to administer psychological tests, and the ability to diagnose mental illnesses.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are the skills you need to succeed interpersonally in any job. They are behaviors and attitudes that help you communicate effectively with others, either verbally or nonverbally. These have also been referred to as signs of emotional intelligence, people skills, or interpersonal skills.
In 2006, a consortium of four organizations conducted a survey of four hundred employers to determine which skills they most valued in recently hired employees. The employers listed soft skills as more desirable than hard skills. The employers listed the following skills as the most important (Conference Board et al., 2006): “professionalism/work ethic, oral and written communications, and teamwork/collaboration.” View a list of applied skills.
Review the skills most valued by employers. Note the finding that most college graduates lacked many of these skills.
In the Discussion Area, address the following:
Select at least three skills you believe you have demonstrated well in school or at work and provide illustrative examples of situations in which you have demonstrated the skills.
Select three skills you believe you need to acquire in order to further develop. Provide examples of situations in which you might have demonstrated weakness in those areas. Provide specific details when describing each of the situations. Cover the following:
How do you think you can improve your skills in those three areas?
Are there any specific steps you can take to increase your aptitude in those particular areas?