4 Career Building Skills I Wish I Had Learned in College
Today’s post is written by Erica Moss. Erica is the social media outreach coordinator for Georgetown University’s online masters degree in nursing program. She also loves exploring New York City, photography, and meeting new people.
Choosing your major in college can be one of the toughest decisions you ever make. It seems so official, so permanent (And what happens if I change my mind down the road?) But no matter what path you choose, once you’re on that track, most of your classes and requirements are laid out for you. You have some choices to make, but largely, you take the specific set of courses designed to ensure you graduate with a well-rounded education.
However, there are some skills that they don’t teach in your core curriculum that could benefit your career down the road. Speaking from a journalism and public relations background, there are a handful of things I could have perfected during those four years that would have put me heads and shoulders above my peers — and can be applied to many industries.
Here are 4 career building skills I wish I had learned in college:
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve needed to decode something written in HTML, or craft it myself, I’d at least be a thousandaire. I do a lot of guest blogging and writing for my own personal blog, and simply knowing how to make something bold or italicized using HTML has saved me a lot of time. If you engage in link building as part of your duties, knowing how to put together a paragraph or bio that includes URLs ensures you don’t have any broken links to go back and fix later. HTML and SEO often go hand-in-hand as well, so knowing how to attach links to specific anchor text, make sure they open in a new window or tab, and similar actions will serve you well when working with copy for the web.
Having even a basic knowledge of graphic design can help elevate your skill set considerably. Perhaps you want to use an image with one of your blog posts, but you just can’t find what you’re looking for in Flickr Creative Commons.
If you know your way around Photoshop, you can put mouse to screen and come up with an original piece of artwork that helps tell the story. Or maybe you’re working with a client who would like a simple edit made to the header on their website or a flyer designed for an upcoming event — depending on the size of your organization, you might have manpower dedicated to requests like that, but if not, being able to execute that quickly (and avoid outsourcing it) will make the process that much more efficient.
These days, it’s all about doing more with less, and the likelihood that your client wants to pay big money for a video production company-type effort is low. And if it’s a video that’s most likely to end up on a Facebook or Twitter page, people aren’t expecting it to be so buttoned up.
If you can position yourself as someone who knows their way around a program like iMovie, which allows you to cut, edit, and add transitions, text and effects to raw footage, your coworkers and superiors will appreciate the expertise. Anyone can shoot video, but it takes extra effort to make it more appealing and professional.
You may get a glimpse of this if you’re required to take a public-speaking course, but knowing how to think on your feet and go outside your comfort zone is a craft that needs frequent polishing. You may be 100% confident in your skills, but it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed in a meeting with a client who’s asking questions that require instant, thoughtful answers.
Taking a theater or improv class is an out-of-the-box way to help boost your confidence and perfect articulating concepts and scenarios in a meaningful way.
These are just a few examples of skills I wish I had taken the time to learn in college that would have better equipped me for the myriad tasks I’d face in my career.
What career building skills would you add to the list?