By Clarissa Toll |Staff Writer|
It takes more than just the knowledge in a specific field to be hired. Employers want applicants to display “soft” skills, or personal communication skills.
According to Fox Business, recent college graduates are lacking professional skills that will get them hired in today’s job market.
“Despite their persistent use of social media and texting, a top complaint from employers about Millennial-age workers is their lack of communication skills,” said Kathryn Buschman Vasel of Fox Business.
These soft skills, also known as people skills, focus on the college graduate’s communication skills in interpersonal interactions and their ability to work in groups.
In a survey done by York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence, collegiate faculty stated that less than half of students display professionalism.
Although these skills are expected by employers, professionals in the field believe they cannot be taught.
“I don’t think you can teach it, but you can improve it,” said Donald Girard, CSUSB public relations professor.
Girard emphasizes the importance of an applicant’s presence within a room.
Eye contact, calm demeanor, and confidence within an interview are all very important soft skills that employers observe.
“Soft skills include attitudes and behaviors that correlate highly with career success. They are what enable people with different skill sets and personalities that make up an organization to work effectively together and without friction. They are essential,” said Candice Olson, founder of The Fullbridge Program.
The Fullbridge Program is designed to equip students with the tools and resources that will help them succeed in the business world.
Students can also receive help and advice on campus as well.
CSUSB students and alumni can attempt to improve their soft skills by setting up a meeting with the Career Center on campus.
The center runs mock interviews and provides materials to help prepare students for upcoming interviews.
The center encourages students to research the company prior to the interview to better understand the company’s expectations, demonstrate good posture during an interview, and speak with confidence.
Applicants must also remember that although their qualifications may be excellent on paper, employers use the interview process to learn how an applicant responds in a professional environment.
Girard added that he turned multiple applicants down for their lack of professional presence in an interview.
He referred to one applicant in particular explaining that the applicant looked promising on paper but the interview left much to be desired.
“Intellectually he was terrific. He just wasn’t the type of person I could use in a public venue,” said Girard.
Girard specifically pointed out the applicant’s lack of a commanding voice in the interview process.
Along with working with employers, students believe these soft skills are helpful in interacting with customers.
“I use those skills all the time. I am interacting with people a lot, so I’m always talking,” said student Adam Hecker.
The Career Center is located on the third floor of University Hall. Appointments can be made on week days by phone or walk-ins during 1-4 p.m.