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Whether you’re working towards a bachelor’s degree in business, food management, fine arts, or anything in between, you likely have some elective credits to fill each semester. While you might think that this is a great place to drop in that easy class to lighten your load, you also may want to consider a more strategic approach to your electives.
As I mentioned in my last post about transitional skills, there are a number of competencies that will set you apart from other job candidates which will help you succeed in numerous different jobs and that will enhance your technical skill set. From this perspective, consider choosing an elective that will help round out your experience, knowledge and skill set.
Good writing skills are, perhaps, the most important skill set you will need for any career. From the seemingly simple task of writing an e-mail to the more thoughtful writing of letters, proposals and presentations, writing is at the core of everything you will do in your future career. You need to be able to express yourself well in writing, using good sentence structure, organized thoughts and persuasive writing. And, the only way to improve your writing is to practice writing. A lot. So, look for classes in business writing, business communication, technical writing and fiction/nonfiction writing. It doesn’t really matter what type of writing you’re doing, as long as you’re writing.
Most college students dread giving a speech. This fear usually comes from a lack of experience. But, these skills will be essential in your professional career as you speak one-on-one with others in your company or if you ever need to present an idea, formal presentation or other material to a group. This is perhaps the second most important elective you can take, after a writing class. Look for classes in public speaking, oral interpretation, interpersonal communication and business communication.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Knowing how to research, understand and solve problems will be common tasks in your professional life. Being good at this requires a strong understanding of ethical behavior, critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities. Look for classes in ethics, logic, philosophy, critical thinking and project management, or a class in research methods if it applies to your major.
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