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December 9, 2014

Five Career Skills You Won’t Learn in College

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You’ve completed the coursework, aced the exams, and now you’re fully prepared to enter the world of employment…..or are you? The real world is full of surprises which, unfortunately, aren’t taught in the average college course and you’ll need to be prepared for these challenges if you want to progress in your chosen career. Here are five much-needed career skills that you won’t learn in college, but many employers will expect you to have:

  1. Persistence

Pulling an all-nighter to finish a paper the day before it’s due or cramming in all your study just before an exam is nothing compared to the persistence required in the professional world. Having the ability to pick yourself up after the 15th rejection letter is difficult, but you need to power through to the 16th interview which could be the key to landing the dream career. Having a strong support structure, intelligently networking, and monitoring your industry can all help you survive during the job search stage. If you decide to work in the insurance industry, for instance, persistence will certainly serve you well!

  1. Networking Skills

Many people find it easy to make lots of new friends in college and develop a strong social network, however, did you learn how to use this network for career success or did you just concentrate on becoming as popular as possible? Maintaining contact with people who can provide you with information about potential opportunities in your career field can lead to referrals, positions which aren’t advertised, and invaluable assistance in career progression. People will want to help you, but not if you are constantly pestering them, so be sure to maintain the relationship for its own merit.

  1. Responsibility

Remember that wild party you went to and decided that a lecture the next morning didn’t sound as appealing as a day in front of the television? Unfortunately, in the real world you can’t pick and choose your work schedule and will have to turn up on time every day. Your responsibilities extend beyond being punctual too, with accountability for your work, meeting deadlines, and e-mails all part of the job. In a working environment, your work affects others and vice-versa.

Humble Interactions

In college, if you don’t like someone you are able to avoid them and won’t have to worry about awkward interactions. However, in the real world you have no choice about who your colleagues are, where they come from, or what makes them tick. You will need to understand and interact with a multitude of personalities. Having the ability to express appreciation or ask for forgiveness can help you avoid being caught up in a conflict and help your career flourish.

  1. Dealing with Feedback

So you got a B in a tough exam and you were over the moon, however, in the real world this simply means you should have got an A. Actually, in the professional world you don’t receive grades but are simply told to listen to the feedback you are given by your superiors. There’s no such thing as a straight C employee, and consistently displaying an effort to perform to your peak abilities is essential.

College offers you great experience and knowledge, but skills like those above are ones you won’t pick up during ‘the best years of your life.’ Want a great job? You’ll need to sign up for a new class at the University of Life.


Katrina Manning is a content marketing specialist who has penned thousands of articles on business, tech, lifestyle and digital marketing for a wide variety of global B2B clients. She mostly writes for  and she is also the author of three books and is currently working on her fourth. In her free time, she enjoys fundraising for charitable causes, playing with her cat and baking.