The Soft Skills Employers Yearn for in College Grads

According to PayScale, Inc. and Future Workplace, almost half of managers surveyed perceived that their employees recently graduated from college were well-prepared for the workforce. These are the top four skills students should focus on improving.

1. In business writing, brevity is key when communicating via email with co-workers, managers, clients, and customers. This differentiation between writing papers in college and business writing lies with a misunderstanding of message. You are always writing for your audience. Messages should focus around the needs of the readers, wants and priorities. The best way to resolve this is to speak through the five w's: who, what, were, when, and why.

2. Fear of public speaking is estimated to affect 75% of the population of America. This is the second ranked sill employers are disappointed in. Public speaking goes beyond presenting to a large audience. It is more commonly seen during meetings. If public speaking gives you nerves a jolt, making key points to speak about can be a useful technique, since we are more likely to forget a speech wrote word for word. Create reference points to bullet key information in your talk. Giving special attention to the start and the end of your talk. Those are the points your audience is most likely to remember.

3. Being information literate is the third skill managers found lacking. You will need to have the ability to break down and understand data using software like Excel, Tableau, or Python. Data has an influence on every role in an organization, from marketing to customer service. You may need to take initiative to find the bounty of free online resources and create a personal project to develop these skills.

4. Roughly 60 percent of employers said that critical thinking and problem solving skills were the number one soft skills needing improvement among recent college grads. The way one handles a crisis or responds to a conflict could be a metric of these skills. Seeing as most recently graduated students aren't as experienced at handling business scenarios, they should look for guidance. Not all problems have a clear intuitive path to a solution. Finding a mentor and inquiring for solutions to the situations handled in the past may guide to creating your own step by step resolutions.

Maintaining the mindset of a life-long learner and continuing to update skills and learn new skills throughout your career.