Christendom College

Employers Seek Recent Graduates with Soft Skills, Found Best in the Liberal Arts

May 26, 2015

grads-softskillsAccording to a new article in USA Today, college graduates who majored in specialized fields are encountering a problem with potential employers: they lack the “soft skills” necessary to thrive and lead in the work place. With their focus on technical know-how over soft skills, these specialized degrees are limiting graduates’ chances after college, while the communication and leadership skills best provided by a proper liberal arts education are helping other graduates, like those from Christendom College, find success following their college careers.

In the piece titled “5 Skills College Grads Need to Get a Job,” author Megan Elliot says the problem is not that graduates lack the right degrees or technical skills that employers seek; rather, they lack the abilities to think outside the box and communicate well with others.

“While many companies have open positions and are eager to hire, they report having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill those positions. Twenty-one percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said they didn’t feel that colleges were doing enough to prepare students for the working world,” Elliot says.

“New degree holders often fail to make a positive impression from the get-go, with employers… reporting problems with ‘lackluster resumes and slipshod cover letters,’” she writes.  “Recruiters report that many interviewees are unmotivated and unfocused, and that they have unrealistic expectations when it comes to salaries.”

Companies are eager to hire recent college graduates, but desire those that can lead and think outside the box. In short, they are looking for graduates that possess five important soft skills, according to Elliot, that come not from a specialized degree, but from a liberal arts education.

These five skills — people skills, problem-solving skills, oral and written communication skills, and leadership skills — are given to the student that studies not only one subject, but studies all of the liberal arts in order to gain a more fully-formed mind. With a complete education, a liberal arts graduate has the skills to not only succeed but to thrive in the workforce after college.

“At Christendom, our education has had a noble goal since our founding: create tomorrow’s leaders here, on this campus. Every student who comes here engages in our rigorous curriculum, and finds success after college because of it. Why? They have the writing skills, the ability to think critically, and a desire to lead that is born out of our education, making them that much more appealing to employers,” says vice president for enrollment Tom McFadden.

Since its founding, Christendom has provided an education that gives students each of these crucial soft skills. By embracing the vision of education set down by famed author and scholar Blessed John Henry Newman, it enables students to succeed.

In his seminal work The Idea of a University, Newman encouraged a universal study of subjects for their own sake, leading to a “philosophical habit of mind.” Such a habit helps to “educate the intellect to reason well in all matters,” and gives a liberally educated student the skills of “freedom, right judgment, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom,” according to Newman — all “soft skills” that can lead to thriving in the work place.

This is part one of a series focusing on the skills every graduate needs to succeed after college, which Christendom College provides for its students. Check back for more stories on this at christendom.edu/news.

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