Millennials have been done a great disservice. They are told that if they go to college and earn a degree, they will make a million dollars more over their lifetime than someone without a college degree. While this statistic is true in some cases, many Millennials are under the mistaken impression it is the college degree itself that will get them where they need to go. It turns out there is a whole other set of skills- soft skills- that Millennials are lacking, and that is holding them back.
What Are Soft Skills?
Being able to get to work on time, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough exercise are all soft skills that can impact your job performance. But the soft skills employers are most looking for are:
- Creative Thinking
- Effective Communication
- Problem Solving
- Innovative Thinking
- Ethical Integrity
- Intercultural Skills
- Desire For Continued Learning
Where Do You Get Soft Skills?
Soft skills are generally things that aren’t taught, though they can be. Most people are supposed to learn these things through experience, but when you are just starting out in the job market you don’t really have time to learn on the job. In this job market, you need to show up prepared.
Some places to hone your adulting skills are:
- Self Help Books
- Adulting Classes
- Support Groups
Whenever you work on bettering yourself, you are bringing yourself one step closer to being a responsible adult. If you are under the mistaken impression you are good enough just as you are, take a long hard look in the mirror. Everyone, literally everyone, has room for improvement. It’s not that you’re a bad person; you need to focus on being the best version of yourself you possibly can be.
See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer
What Schools Aren’t Teaching
Millennials can have the best degree from the best university, but there are some things they might not be learning. Getting the job done efficiently is as important as getting it done well. Learning to prioritize tasks and set goals and deadlines is certainly something that Millennials should be learning in school, but it doesn’t always shake out that way.
Things that are emphasized in school:
Things that are not emphasized in school but should be:
- Physical Education
- Home Economics
- Social Skills
With the shift toward teaching to a test, the school is results-driven rather than comprehensive. Education is shifted to one extreme- the one that is going to produce the most career-ready students. Unfortunately, the need for arts, humanities, and the like gets lost in the shuffle. Empathy is not measurable, neither is the drive to succeed. As long as you can memorize and regurgitate the material, you get rubber stamped to move on to the next level.
Once school is over, where are Millennials supposed to learn these soft skills? That is the true challenge. Knowing you need to brush up on your soft skills is one thing, but knowing how to do that is something else entirely. Perseverance is the key to all lifelong learning. There will be setbacks and challenges, but learning to press on is where Millennials have the opportunity to transform into the next generation of business leaders.
See Also: How Millennials Measure Success At Work
Learning how to take care of yourself outside of the workplace will go a long way toward success in the workplace. Millennials also often don’t learn how to eat a proper diet, get enough sleep and exercise, and the value of unplugging in school, but these skills can have a huge impact on career readiness.
Soft skills set apart between being able to replicate your job as it was taught to you and being able to innovate a new way to do your job that is more efficient. Soft skills are the difference between keeping your business small and local and being able to scale up because you have the ability to communicate with people from other cultures.
Developing yourself both personally and professionally is something you have to do on your own time. You will have to be willing to engage in lifelong learning. If you don’t want to ever learn anything new ever again, your career is going to be stuck for the rest of your life. But if you can recognize there is a problem and set about trying to solve it, congratulations- you’ve just mastered adulting.
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.