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What skills do college grads need to be successful? I’ve had the privilege of doing a variety of different work around on-boarding recent college graduates into their first full-time, post-collegiate jobs. A lot of this work has been looking for mutually-beneficial solutions for meeting young professionals where they are to take them where employers need them to be. This has had me thinking... what are the specific gaps between what colleges provide students and what employers expect them to know? Certainly this differs across fields. But if we could come together and agree on some particular skills, we could save employers (and young professionals) a lot of time, energy, and heartache down the line.

15 Skills College Grads Need To Be Successful

Note: Some of these are significant, some trivial, and most are somewhere in between. However, these are coming up continuously in conversations I have been having both with recent grads and those supervising them in the workplace.
  1. Identifying a professional vision and mission statement
  2. Balancing short-term objectives with long-term planning
  3. Knowing when to brainstorm possibilities and when to take action
  4. How to coach up, down, and across (and be coachable)
  5. Dressing appropriately for the workplace
  6. Interacting with colleagues of different generations
  7. Choosing the right form of communication for one’s intended audience
  8. Providing clear and concise answers to questions
  9. Giving a presentation
  10. Intuiting a company’s culture and making one’s self a fit with it
  11. Negotiation (as a way to preempt and respond to conflict)
  12. Creating and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries
  13. Performing customer service irrespective of role
  14. Giving and receiving behavior-oriented feedback
  15. Maintaining a possibility-centered mindset
This by no means constitutes an exhaustive list of what grads need to know to be great, so please join me in growing it. What are the skills you believe colleges need to engender in their students to shorten the workplace learning curve? Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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