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workforce insights center

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Top Communication Skills Employers Seek From College Grads

If you are a recent graduate, now is the time to work on refining certain skills to help your transition to the workplace.  

This summer, a new group of ambitious college graduates will hit the job market. Along with their energy and enthusiasm also comes inexperience. Here are the top communication skills that employers want to see from new grads.  

Listen, listen, listen 

When you are just starting out, you should listen more than you talk. Really hear what the other person is saying, instead of formulating your response. Ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings. The person speaking to you should be the most important person. Don’t multitask. This means that if you are speaking to someone on the phone, do not respond to an email, or send a text at the same time. 

Be clear and concise  

Maybe every once in a while, on occasion, it could be said that a college student filled a 20-page paper will a few filler words to meet a minimum word count. In the business setting, however, time is money. Getting to the point in a presentation or meeting is a premium communication skill. Work on clearly articulating your point in a concise and direct manner. 

Project management skills  

In college, a big project rarely lasted longer than a semester, and usually were much shorter. But in the workplace, you are often expected to juggle multiple projects that can last six months, a year or longer. Set several milestone goals, check in on progress regularly, get feedback, and use the resources of others around you. 

Practice the art of meetings  

Meetings in an office are also different than the dorms at college. To respect others’ time, always send out an agenda before the meeting, giving participants enough time to prepare. At the start of the meeting, establish the ground rules for communicating, and any other expectations. Finally, send meeting minutes to those who participated or who will be affected by what was discussed.  

Organizations know that it will take time for new graduates to get acclimated to their new work environment. That’s also a two-way street. Spend time getting up to speed in your communication practices, and the transition will be smoother for everyone.  


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