This morning in the Wall Street Journal there was an article discussing the high unemployment rate and some reasons why the unemployed have had a difficult time matching up with employers.
Having technical skills may be necessary for many jobs, but they are by no means sufficient. According the the WSJ article, employers have had a very hard time finding applicants who have “soft” skills that are highly valued. These soft skills include effective communication (correct grammer and spelling, for instance), enthusiasm, interpersonal skills, punctuality, reliability and even just passing a drug test.
A study done by the Society for Human Resource Management and AARP found that, “‘professionalism’ or ‘work ethic’ is the top ‘applied’ skill that younger workers lack.”
The New York Federal Reserve Bank also did a study that found, “manufacturers were finding it harder to find punctual, reliable workers today than in 2007.”
What does this mean for current college students?
It means that there may not be a better opportunity to learn and exercise these skills than at college. Practice being on time to class. Go and talk to your professors and start relationships. Get involved with clubs or groups and make friends. Study hard for exams and put in the time to finish classes well. The time spent at college can be extremely fruitful in making valuable softer skills part of who you are.