Essential Skills College Students Needs To Be Successful At Work

a desk with a computer, stack of books, and cup of pens. Having a clean work area and space are essential skills

There are a few essential skills every employer seeks when hiring a college graduate. These skills demonstrate competency and career readiness. Below are the skills every college student should begin working on while in college to be prepared for a successful transition into the workplace.

1. Time Management

Time management is one of the most important essential skills. It is not only important for college students but also vital in the workforce as well. When juggling an array of things simultaneously, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Developing your time management skills through planning and scheduling will help bring order. Being able to divide your time efficiently between different activities is an essential skill that will make you a valuable asset to any company.

“In the age of multitasking, time management has become an essential skill set to stay organized, efficient, productive, and effective.”– Steve Jobs

When you manage your time well, you can control the amount of time spent on different tasks. You will know what needs your attention and when. You won’t be distracted by other things as you will have prioritized and coordinated what needs to get done.

Examples Of Time Management Skills:

Time management is a compilation of several elements that when executed properly will create a seamless flow of orderliness and calmness within


Using your time efficiently means deciding the level of importance of each task. Prioritizing will help you decide what order tasks should be completed. It’s the best way to avoid task-shifting, which can be very inefficient.

3 Tips To Improve Prioritization Skills:

  • 1. Make a to-do list. Included everything that needs to be done.
  • 2. Decided what is urgent and what is important. This will help you delegate tasks.
  • 3. Create deadlines. Identify clear dates when tasks need to be completed.


Problems come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and others are small. They can be short or long-term. Problem-solving is crucial to feeling prepared to handle whatever unexpected issues arise.

3 Tips To Improve Problem-Solving:

  • 1. Identify the problem. You can’t solve a problem unless you identify and understand its nature.
  • 2. Break it down. Break the problem down into small manageable pieces.
  • 3.  Create a plan. The ability to create a strategy to deal with the problem is the only way to move forward and implement a solution. 


Decision-making skills are highly sought after by employers because employees are faced with decisions daily. Whether it’s deciding on what task should take precedence over the other or which candidate to hire, knowing how to make an educated decision for the situation is important.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

3 Tips To Improve Decision-Making

  • 1. Identify the facts and your options. Consider all the relevant information which will help you make the best possible decision.
  • 2. Consider the effects of the decision. Solutions can be complex or a simple judgment call, either way, the main goal will be finding the best solution. Brainstorm and look at the issue from different angles.
  • 3. Commit and implement the best option. Once you make your decision carry it out and monitor the outcome.


Having a clear and concise schedule is key to successful time management. A well-planned schedule keeps everyone on task and maximizes efficiency. It can also reduce stress and confusion as to what needs to be done and when.

3 Tips To Improve Scheduling

  • 1. Identify all activities and tasks that are necessary. Make a list so you don’t leave anything out.
  • 2. Schedule times, taking into account important dates, deadlines, meetings, and events. Including scheduling time to work on specific projects.
  • 3. Maintain and update the schedule when needed. Schedules change, therefore, readjust to accommodate new events.

2. Collaboration

Working well with others is essential to demonstrating your professionalism. Teamwork is what leads to business success.

3 Tips To Improve Collaboration Skills

  • 1. Communicate clearly. When a group of people works together for a common goal there will be many different thoughts and opinions. It’s vital to communicate with each other clearly and concisely.
  • 2. Listen to others. Listen actively, ask questions for clarification, be patient, and don’t allow emotions to get in the way.
  • 3. Build on strengths. Building on team members’ individual strengths can foster ideas, create a gracious and trusting environment, and promote a sense of community.

3. Communication

Communication can take on many forms. Some forms are better suited for certain situations. Employers look for applicants with exceptional written and verbal communication skills.

Examples Of Communication Skills:

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is oral communication that is spoken through words.

3 Tips To Improve Verbal Communication Skills

  • 1. Speak slowly and concisely. Being clear is very important to convey a message or information.
  • 2. Hold eye contact. Eye contact is powerful because it shows attentiveness and creates a connection.
  • 3. Listen actively. Being an active listener keeps the conversation engaged and allows thoughts and ideas to be shared and discussed.

Nonverbal Communication

Much of our communication happens nonverbally. Gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and posture can reveal a lot. Having essential skills means being able to tune into what a person is saying with their body language.

3 Tips To Improve Nonverbal Communication Skills

  • 1. Maintain eye contact. This is the simplest way to show that you are paying attention and are engaged in the conversation.
  • 2. Watch your posture. If you are slouching or folding your arms in from of you it can imply you are uninterested or bored.
  • 3. Watch your facial expressions. A friendly smile can go a long way when you are meeting someone new or discussing a difficult subject. On the other hand, a look of disappointment or even terror can make those around you feel uncomfortable.

Written Communication

Writing well is one of the most important skills. A poorly written letter can kill your credibility and professionalism. A well-organized, clean, straightforward, and readable letter will ensure your reader understands what you are saying. Emails are a form of written communication and should be treated with the same level of professionalism.

3 Tips To Improve Written Communication Skills

  • 1. Write clearly. The information you are writing should be easily understood by the reader.
  • 2. Content is key. Describe your information concisely.
  • 3. Proofread. Grammar and content mistakes will make you look lazy and unprofessional You never want to allow the reader to doubt your work or your intelligence.

4. Professionalism

I saved the best for last. I am a manager at a Fortune 500 company, and it never ceases to amaze me how some people conduct themselves in a professional environment. There are expectations, both behavioral and in dressing when you enter the workforce. Many people find it hard to meet these standards. Once you step into the professional mindset it will become second nature and will set you apart from your colleagues.

Examples Of Professionalism:

Dress Appropriately

Dressing appropriately is part of essential skills. How you present yourself at work says a lot about you. Regardless of what the dress code at work is, you should always appear clean and put together. Wrinkled, ripped, dirty, stained, or revealing clothes are always a no-no. Shop For Women’s Blazers / Shop For Men’s Suits And Jackets.

Personal Hygiene

This can be touchy for some people. Cleaning, grooming, and caring for our bodies are very personal habits. However, in the workplace personal hygiene isn’t just about you, it affects your colleagues. Brush your teeth and wash your hair. Body order can be very offensive, wear deodorant. Wash your hands, to prevent the spread of germs.

Positive Attitude

When it comes to the workplace a positive attitude is vital. It not only plays a role in how others perceive you but your job satisfaction and performance. If you complain constantly about your work or your home life, it will bring those around you down. A positive attitude makes you pleasant and approachable.

Don’t Gossip

It’s hard not to. While some gossip is harmless it can become petty and unprofessional very quickly. Some gossip can turn into bullying and harassment and can get you fired.

No Homelife Drama

While confiding in a coworker is typically okay, sharing too much information can make people uncomfortable. Respect boundaries, your colleagues may not want to hear about your personal problems.


Be humble and acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses when receiving feedback. Be open and recognize the value of feedback from colleagues and superiors. Humility increases your willingness to learn, grow, and contribute to your team.

To Land An Entry-Level Job Essential Skills Are Necessary

Entry-level jobs used to be the perfect way for recent graduates to enter the workforce and begin their careers. However, over the years the definition of “entry-level” has changed significantly. Having a college degree is no longer enough. Work on your essential skills as they may be what sets you apart from other candidates.