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Professional skills which a classroom doesn’t teach you is the skills valued at the workplace

Farewell season is around us, and social media will flood with photos of students and proud parents, the time has come for teens to tackle the question “What’s next?” (Because you already know you would be asked that many times over the next few months.) many will find difficult to answer. You may have a good diploma in hand, but the working world is different.  Many students think they have the skills needed to succeed in the “Real World,” . The fact is, there are Professional Skills which a classroom doesn’t teach you.

Below are some skills that are valuable in the workplace, across a range of roles and industries:

  • Network Building: Networking, in a nutshell, is meeting new people in a professional context, building those relationships over time, and adding value to each other. This skill is important because 85% of a person’s success is due to “human engineering”—your personality, communication ability and emotional intelligence.
  • Realistic Goal Setting: Setting goals, with realistic deadlines, is a must have skill for any job where you don’t have someone clearly telling you what to do. Goal-setting also helps for personal development and growth. Think about the big picture like where you want to be in five years and break down that challenging goal into smaller pieces, making it easier to overcome.
  • Prioritizing Your To Do List: The ability to evaluate each of your tasks and rank them in order of priority is a skill that can set you apart in the workplace. Related to that, learning how to say “no”. As you grow in your career, an inflow of opportunities will come your way, all placing demands on your time. You’ll need to order what matters most, put some on the back burner, and decline others altogether.
  • Leading a Team:  The meaning of leadership involves knowing who you are and what you stand for, being able to delegate wisely, maintaining integrity, and having the ability to listen to and work alongside others. Just because they weren’t taught inside the college classroom doesn’t mean you can’t practice these career-boosting skills. And once you do, you’ll do well in your career—no matter what industry you’ve chosen.
  • Selling and Negotiation: How to sell your ideas and yourself is something not taught in college, but you’ll miss great opportunities if you lack the skills and confidence to put yourself out there. You may get that dream job by selling yourself to a hiring manager. You can get startup investors by selling your vision. You can negotiate a raise by selling yourself to a higher-up.  
  • You are Responsible for Your Actions and Words: Take pride in your work, think out of the box, do the work well and learn from mistakes. The consequences of each action and decision are your responsibility and the sooner we understand that, the more pride we can take in our ownership and individuality.
  • Finding a fulfilling work: You probably come out of school with at least a vague sense of what career you wanted to pursue, but for all but a small, lucky minority, those ideas quickly smack up against the realities of a tough job market and dull day-to-day reality. The primary step to figuring out what to do next is accepting this sort of quarter-life crisis is entirely normal. Then stop idly pondering what your passion might be, and start asking smarter questions and conducting small experiments. Nobody ever found their dream job by sitting on the couch stressing out! 

These skills can help anyone get ahead in any field, from running a startup to working in a reputed Company. Obviously, there are certain skills specific to each field as well, but with the skills that translate across disciplines, are the ones that can be learned by anyone at any position.

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