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Defining Employability: Honing "Soft" Skills While Earning Your Online Degree


Students pursue higher education in order to obtain the skills they need to get the job they want. This often means focusing on training and skills that are most relevant to their vocation of choice. For example, students who are studying to become nurses will spend a significant portion of their education focusing on subjects like biology and health science, while students pursuing an accounting degree, will spend more time studying topics such as finance and mathematics.


But many fail to recognize the importance of developing soft skills while earning their degree. The term, "soft skills," refers to the personal qualities that allow an individual to interact and build relationships with others. Employers have recognized the importance that these skills play in job performance; more and more, they are looking to hire individuals who exhibit intelligence, critical thinking and information literacy, among other abilities.


These skills are crucial for nearly every type of job, and significantly affect your level of employability. Your ability to think, process information, and go with the flow is just as important as typical knowledge and training.


According to Forbes' list of the "10 Skills That Will Get You Hired,"theseproficiencies are indeed important for establishing your employability - the top four attributes listed were all soft skills. The four soft skills included in the list were:


1. Critical thinking - using logic and reason to process information in a systematic, purposeful way.


2. Complex problem-solving - being able to observe a situation, identify and judge all potential solutions, and implement the best possible option.


3. Judgment and decision-making - the ability to consider the available options, based on the costs and benefits of each, in any given situation.


4. Active listening - paying full attention to what a person is communicating and being able to synthesize the information, while asking the appropriate questions in a respectful manner.


As you research online degree programs to determine which one is right for you, it's crucial to find one that will put some emphasis on soft skills. While it is important to build a foundation of "hard skills" pertaining to your degree (e.g. finance and statistic courses for an accounting degree), it is also important to focus on developing and enhancing the interpersonal skills that will help you thrive in the workplace, therefore making you a more desirable job candidate.


Bryant & Stratton College Online aims to help students maximize their employability for career success through its Employability Series. This set of core competencies is integrated in to the College's online degree programs, to complement occupation-specific training and help graduates get hired.


Interested in learning more about the online degree programs offered by Bryant & Stratton College Online? Call 1.888.447.3528 to speak with an admissions representative.