You’ve probably heard of “soft skills” – abilities employers look for in all workers. But did you know you probably already possess a lot of solid, job-related skills you’ll rely on when you’re working for a living?
For example, if you’ve ever figured out the price of a CD at 15 percent off, then you have math skills that can help you understand payroll deductions like state and federal taxes. Math skills are helpful for understanding your own paycheck and investments as well as for jobs in personnel, finance and management.
Have you ever taught a friend the rules of a sport or game they’ve never played? If you have, you might have the makings of a good trainer – someone who teaches employees company rules and policies, as well as new skills that will help them advance in the company.
If you’ve ever purchased an expensive item like a car, mountain bike or computer, you’ve probably done the necessary research to see what features you want for no more than you want to spend. Comparing options, knowing the latest trends in the product and prioritizing your requirements are skills that architects, designers, production managers and purchasing agents use every day.
Many other skills are useful for many types of jobs. For instance, try every day to:
- Read and write. Read all kinds of things: instruction manuals, the newspaper, a biography of someone you admire. Practice remembering what you read and see if you can link it to events in your life. Write letters to relatives or a set of instructions for a house-sitter, or add details to your school notes. Employers value people who can convey their thoughts clearly in reports, letters – even emails.
- Use math. Almost every job uses some kind of math – even artists have to figure out material costs and recreation guides need to budget time, costs and logistics for their clients’ needs. Everyday math practice can include determining when you’ll have enough allowance or savings to make an important purchase.
Your future is important at any stage of your life and the more thought you put into setting goals and planning the next steps of your career path, the more likely your adult and career dreams will come true. Go ahead. Take a stab at planning your career by visiting Idaho’s Career Information System. It’s free!
– Terry Mocettini, technical & support materials coordinator, Career Information System