8 Crossover Skills You’ll Need Whether You Go To College Or Not
I’m often asked by students who aren’t keen on the idea of going to college what skills I’d recommend they have if they wanted to forgo the common rite of passage and go immediately to work. On the one hand, many of these students are looking for an easy way out. On the other, many seriously do not connect with the structure or course offerings of college and would rather try their hand at a trade. Statistical analysis is showing more and more that a trade career isn’t farfetched. With some fields earning more than what college grads with a bachelor’s degree earn, it only makes sense that someone would want to forgo the student loans and opt for a marketable career. That being said, there are some skills that are mutual to both college students and trade students, and without them, it would be difficult to succeed at anything. Here are the top crossover skills for the contemplative high school student.
As a teacher, I constantly came across some knucklehead, who sloughed off his English classes because he was going to be a welder and “didn’t need any of that stuff.” These kids were usually in for rude awakenings shortly after collecting their GEDs or high school diplomas. Reading skills are of the utmost importance. For starters, you have to be able to read to study independently so the people over you aren’t constantly having to hold your hand. Furthermore, reading skills build reason and judgment and all the inner qualities that employees are looking for, no matter what the job.
Writing skills are important because they give one the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, whether it’s through the written word or face-to-face. The thing about writing is this: it forces you to evaluate ideas and formulate what you’re going to say on the fly. Without the ability to write, it’s difficult to relate to a potential employer in a way that shows competence and trustworthiness. In other words, people judge you on how you communicate, and writing is the easiest way to build your communication skills into something special.
Job Interview Skills
Most jobs worth having, whether they’re trade-based or they require a college degree, will have an abundance of applicants. You may be able to weld like nobody’s business, but you’re going to be up against dozens of other people that have the same skill set. If they have a better sense of how to present themselves to potential employers, you’ll get passed over every time. The hard fact of the matter is this: there are more workers than jobs available in the United States. That’s why you’re always having to compete. If you cannot secure the confidence of the people, who are signing your checks, then you’ll have to go back to the drawing board. That’s because an employer cannot afford to give every candidate a fair shake. He has a limited number of positions to fill, and if you’re not putting forth a good first impression, he’ll trust his gut and go with the person who is.
Research papers in high school may have bored you to tears, but they’re actually preparing you for a much-needed life skill that crosses over to various disciplines — the ability to research. With research skills, you can learn more about a company before you interview with them and use that information to ask relevant questions that will impress hiring personnel in a job interview. You can also use these skills to learn more about what you don’t know so a job is done right every time. Last but not least, it can help you add skill sets that will in turn make you more marketable than ever. So don’t blow off your research paper. Instead find something that commands your passion — something you actually want to learn about — and go for broke.
Yes, this will depend on what type of job you have, but computers are a constant in modern society, and they won’t be going away any time soon. Everything is available online these days, from your bank and billing accounts to your personal life. You have to be able to use computers as a force for good because that’s where your potential clients or employers will be. That means you should know basic things like how to craft an email, how to conduct yourself on social media, and how to find information in your field. The skill set goes way beyond that, too, but again, you have to tailor it to what you’re doing and where you want to go in life.
Interacting with employers or clients or significant others or colleagues — these all require social skills for you to put your best foot forward and leave a good impression. That means if you land a job, you have to be aware that communication never ceases to be important. This might mean swallowing your tongue when you really want to explode, or it might mean the ability to teach what you do to someone else who’s less experienced (or completely ignorant). Actually the ability to teach what you do is incredibly overrated. By being able to make your work accessible to the masses, you’re demonstrating a mastery that is hard to come by — one that will make you much more marketable over time. And when it comes to personal relationships, social skills are vital. You cannot have a healthy friendship or relationship over the long haul if you lack the ability to communicate and to control your emotions and responses.
Organizational And Planning Skills
Technologies have enabled us to accomplish far more than we used to in a shorter amount of time. At least that’s the case if we’re organized and know how to plan our days to handle the boatload of information and responsibilities that wash over us. With proper organization and planning techniques, you’ll be able to accomplish more than you think you’re capable of, making more money and proving yourself more valuable in the process.
Time Management Skills
This piggybacks on organizational and planning skills, but deserves its own space because it actually goes beyond these things. If you are unable to manage your time — whether during the planning stages or the execution of responsibilities — then deadlines will sneak up on you, and you’ll have some mighty disappointed employers or clients. It’s hard to stay stable for long if that happens, so you need to learn how to prioritize responsibilities and maximize efficiency while at work.
While trade and college careers are very different from one another, what binds them together are crossover skills like those mentioned above. EVERY career without exception needs to be accompanied by each of the qualities we’ve presented in this article. Without them, you’re going to find yourself below average and slipping towards obscurity. So what about it, readers? Which of these skill sets do you think are the most vital, and which ones did we leave off the list? Sound off in the comments section below.