Professional Office Skills Every College Student Needs to Master Now (Part One)
College is a time for learning, growing, and becoming the person that your future self needs you to be in order to succeed in the world after graduation. You will undoubtedly be taking classes that help you hone critical thinking skills, get professionally acquainted with all aspects of you chosen profession, and ensure that you have all of the necessary expertise in your field of study to confidently enter the workforce.
Though these skills are a necessary part of developing yourself as an excellent candidate for future professional endeavors, there are some basic tech skills that will not be offered in classes, but which are just as invaluable for you to learn.
Beyond job applications, these five tech skills are necessary to get by in everyday life outside of college, and the sooner you master them, the better position you will be in when you are personally responsible for managing every aspect of your own life, both in and out of the office.
Digital Time Management and Scheduling
Just like your courses here at UA have a syllabus to keep you on schedule throughout the semester, your professional career will likely have its own time management system in place. These types of internal management systems are generally project or task-based, and they help keep team members on point from start to finish.
While it may seem daunting to calendar and schedule your entire college life, utilizing any one of the plethora of app-based or digital calendars available is a great way to prepare yourself for the workforce.
Google Calendar is available to all UA students as a part of the Google suite of apps, and it is the perfect way keep your academic and personal schedule synced and organized. Google Calendar also keeps you synced up with classmates during collaborative projects, and helps everyone in the group stay on track throughout the semester.
Whichever form of time management system suits your needs is the one to use, but be certain that you keep on top of it and use it often to learn how to stay on point and meet deadlines like a pro.
How to Do Research
You are undoubtedly intimately acquainted with research papers by now, but what happens after college when your job requires you to perform specified research? Do you have the tools and the know-how to go beyond the library and Wikipedia to meet the standards of corporate needs?
In the professional world, there are many reasons why you may be called upon to gather information for an assignment, then present your research as an evaluation tool. You may not be citing sources in a bibliography, but you will need to learn now how to select content based on validity and relevance, and how to credit those sources in your research.
Research is necessary to solve problems, brainstorm ideas, manage products and people, and collect information about business productivity and management.
There are classes available that teach students how to research with these ideas in mind, but the best way to get the hang of specified research, both applied and basic, is to change your research habits now. Learn how to delve deeper into research materials and outlets, and never let your research stop at one source. Gathering information and applying it to problem solving is a life skill, so no matter you career choice, you will probably need to become a better, stronger researcher.
Computer File Organization
Whichever field you are planning to work in, whether it is the arts, sciences, or business, you will need to have advanced computer skills before you enter the workforce, and those computer skills need to go beyond software.
Computer skills include many things, but one skill that gets overlooked too often is file organization. Right now you may save everything you download to your desktop, or have random files scattered throughout your computer that can only be found via a computer search.
In a professional business environment, even one that is freelance or a small at home business, file organization is critical to accurate, efficient performance. A computer file system in disarray can mean big trouble in business, particularly in offices with shared file systems.
You should always know where your files are, and more importantly, you will always be able to direct someone to those files should the need arise. Time wasting and mismanagement of files can sink your status in the workplace, so it is best to get a handle on things now before you slip up and jeopardize a project due to mishandling of files.
Personal computers like your laptop should be organized into separate categories including school and personal files. By creating a stacked folder system, you will be able to subcategorize all of your computer’s files into subject, topic, class, and/or date.
Filing systems like this can easily be applied to your work computer, and will keep you on top of everything you need to perform your job perfectly.
Check back with us next week for some more professional skills that you should master now as we continue to discuss the work skills you should be developing while in college.