5 Skills That Should Be Taught In College
While we were busy making work life conducive to the millennials, a mint new generation called Generation Z has emerged! The one that is just stepping into the work world and will be soon be working with us.
It’s the first time when multiple generations are working together – generation X, the millennials and generation Z.
Earlier, generation gap was about 25 years. But that is now rapidly shrinking with the world evolving at an unprecedented speed.
While the gap has reduced, there are major differences in the way different generations perceive things like music, political views, moral values, work ethics etc. And that’s where this article comes into perspective.
While the older generations are adapting to technology, it is also critical that the youngsters stepping into the work world understand and abide by the rules that function there.
Although a lot of rules have now changed – for instance, Whatsapp is an accepted mode for professional communication, the rules of formal communication and behaviour still hold true. And this is something that the Zee generation will need a bit of work on. Here’s a short list:
1. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Communication skills came on top of everyone’s list. Boy! Where do we even begin with this! With most conversations happening now is on Instagram, there is a long way to turn that into professional communication. A couple of things that come under this head are:
a. BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Official communication is not online chat. When emails or reports need to go out to clients or senior management, impeccable writing skills become imperative. Crisp sentences, paragraphs with clear thoughts, punctuation that gets the right message across – these are skills needed on a daily basis.
Come to think of it, one’s journey into the real work world begins with resumes and cover letters themselves!
b. SPEAKING SKILLS:
It’s the first day at work and a bunch of team members get into a meeting. A new guy who should be out there making his presence felt with his ideas, ends up holding back due to lack of confidence.
What do you think is the kind of impression this would create for the new-comer? And what does this do to his personal brand on a personal job?
Whether it is speaking up in a team meeting or presenting to a client, the ability to speak confidently is a key skill for survival in the corporate world today.
2. SOCIAL SKILLS
I was recently invited to a college to speak on interview skills and how to crack them. The student who co-ordinated over email and messages for the session was also there.
But it took me some time to figure out that that was indeed her – the changing DPs on Whatsapp don’t really help identify people instantly in real life. This was a great opportunity for her to come up to me and introduce herself – tell me that it is her that I was talking to. But she didn’t do that and left me guessing.
The high tech gen Z is highly gauche among people. This is the silent generation that communicates mostly through chats or websites on cellphones, real people aren’t really a part of the deal. Making eye contact and small talk, being courteous, understanding the meaning of body language cues are a few things that can make a huge difference on the job.
When I trained for Deloitte a few years ago, the HR head had to interrupt me during the session to tell the fresh batch of interns not to Whatsapp her at unearthly hours!
The mode of communication is as important as the way you communicate. Dress formally. Check before your call anyone. Re-confirm meetings with the client through email. Get back to people on time. Keep up with commitments. Respect team members. These are a few things to learn while stepping into the work world.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA SKILLS
Being on social media as the employee of an organisation is quite different from when you are a student. Your personal brand is critical once you start working.
It matters what you post online on your own profile as the employee of an organisation. All of us create some kind of a brand – whether we want it or not.
Pictures of what you did last Friday night could essentially spell doom for your future job prospects.
Maturity and professionalism on social media can only enhance the brand ‘YOU’ and further your career.
5. SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE
We learn a lot of academic and theoretical aspects in college. But real life is all about application. This may require extra reading to understand how your domain expertise works in real life.
If the job is unrelated to your degree, the skills of reading and analysis become that much more important on the job.
There are several other skills like integrity, honesty, flexibility, time management etc that come up in the list. But I think I have covered some of the most important basics that students can begin with. Can you think of any other skills that students can start working on right in college?