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Colleges and employers alike look for soft skills in applicants


Friday, April 18, 2014

Students engaged in the college application process believe that a great deal of emphasis will be placed on their credentials such as test scores and teacher recommendations. However, applicants should be aware that personal skills and character traits are also considered as part of the application evaluation. Schools are searching for students who are intelligent, but who also possess valuable skills that will help them in college and after graduation.

Soft skills are vital for college and beyond
According to the results of a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, employers are emphasizing the importance of soft skills, in relation to the more tangible industry- or job-related skills. Almost three-fourths of employers stated that a strong work ethic is an essential soft skill, along with dependability and a positive attitude. Other noteworthy attributes include being self-motivated and having the ability to work under pressure.

"When companies are assessing job candidates, they're looking for the best of both worlds: someone who is not only proficient in a particular function, but also has the right personality," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, in a press release. "Along with responsibilities, it's important to highlight soft skills that can give employers an idea of how quickly you can adapt and solve problems, whether you can be relied on to follow through, and how effectively you can lead and motivate others."

Students should take these findings into account when completing their college applications. For example, crafting your essay to highlight the accrual of soft skills or mentioning honors, awards or activities that reflect characteristics like leadership, time management, or team building can be very effective.

The military helps to hone in-demand skills
It may seem like acquiring all of these skills is a daunting task. However, there are ways to sharpen and demonstrate expertise, and many believe that members of the military accomplish this during their time in the service.

A report from the Society for Human Resource Management found that the vast majority of employers valued the skills veterans brought to the table. More than 90 percent of respondents claimed that characteristics such as a strong sense of responsibility, ability to work under pressure, strong leadership skills and flexibility are often found in applicants with military experience.

If you are looking to enroll in military college programs, you should focus on these skills in your application and participate in activities that demonstrate these skills.

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Colleges and employers alike look for soft skills in applicants
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