How to Use This Tutorial
- Click on each skill category for resources that can help you develop that set of skills.
- Most of the resources are linked to additional information.
Content, Technical, and Job-Specific Skills
These are skills that you learn in your major and on the job.
You will need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely on the job, both in speaking and in writing. Memos need to be short and to the point; presentations need to stick to the subject and be easily understood. You will need to be able to explain issues to other staff members and to persuade people to accept your ideas.
Another communication skill is listening. You have to be able to listen, to pay attention to others. Focus on what others are saying to you rather than trying to compose what you will say next while they're speaking. Listen carefully so that you can ask good questions and probe for more details.
In your professional life, you will often be called upon to work as part of a team, committee, task force, or other type of group. On the job, you will need to work well with other people, perhaps even taking on the leadership of the group. You'll need to be able to accept and delegate assignments. And you'll be expected to meet—or beat—deadlines.
- Accepting assignments
- Meeting deadlines
You might also be called upon to resolve a disagreement between co-workers. Once you've been on the job a while, you will be able to serve as a mentor for new employees, showing them the ropes and guiding them in their own professional development. Any time you interact with clients and colleagues (as well as co-workers), you'll be drawing upon your customer service skills.
- Team building
- Conflict resolution
- Customer service
You may be required to gather information in preparation for writing a report or making a presentation. You'll have to be able to pick the most important points, summarize them, figure out what they mean, and explain the material to your audience.
Employers today expect you to have basic knowledge of word processing and using spreadsheets, databases, and the World Wide Web. Some jobs will require more detailed expertise, including Web development and design. Others will require that you know how to use other specialized programs, such as computer-aided design software or geographic information systems programs.
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Excel
- Web-development software
- Graphics software
Categorizing and classifying also relate to analytical skills. On the job you will often have to organize information, paying attention to the finest of details. You will have to choose among competing priorities in determining which assignments to work on at which times so that you can meet all your deadlines.
- Working with details
- Setting priorities
- Meeting deadlines
Adaptive skills are typically related to your personality; you tend to develop them early in life and they are resistant to change.
- Strong work ethic