Got skills? A college diploma isn’t everything to employers

Kristin Hugo

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Once you’ve achieved that elusive college degree, it may seem like you’ve got a magic ticket to the career of your dreams. However, it’s more complicated than that. Did you learn the skills to make you more employable?

In the Job Outlook 2010 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, communication and teamwork were ranked  by employers among the top five job candidate skills.

To prepare myself, I worked on an Associated Students committee last year and I learned plenty of soft skills employers seek like setting goals, working in a group, punctuality, leadership, communication, creating a budget, time organization, overcoming obstacles and networking. With skills like these you can be even more desirable to an employer than students with higher GPA’s.

It’s also a good idea to focus on your career field. You can join professional organizations or clubs, work in a lab, get an internship, work in the office of your major, or get an entry level position at the corporation at which you one day hope to have a career.

“If the student hasn’t made the effort while they’re in college to connect to an occupation or an industry that they’re interested in, sometimes when they graduate they can still be in the mode of searching,” said Nyla Jolly Dalferes, an assistant director of the CSUN Career Center.

Located in University Hall 105, the Career Center offers plenty of free resources to prepare students for the job market, yet many students aren’t aware of these tools and find themselves graduating without career prospects.

They have programs to help you decide what major would be best for you, a listserv online to show you what jobs and internships are available, and career counselors to do practice interviews with you and help with your resume. Additionally, there are workshops, career fairs, and alumni services to help graduates.

“We’re ready, willing and able to do anything that we can to help [students] get the job except for going out and getting the job for them,” Dalferes said.

The fact that so few students know about all these resources could be attributed to the commuter mentality. If this is your case, keep in mind that you don’t have to leave campus right after class, or go stay with your parents every weekend.

If you spend more time on campus, CSUN’s extracurricular activities provide great opportunities to learn employable skills.

College can be a lot of fun, and it can be a lot of work but remember why you came.

Hopefully you don’t just want to get it over with so you can have a diploma to hang in your hallway and hopefully you are here to learn how to become a contributing member of society.

This means you must be proactive and do more than just attend class, so check out what’s available to you to help you achieve your dreams and goals.