Top 10 Skills That Prepare You for Career Success
Students can take these soft skills into any field or industry or as they apply to jobs, furthering their chances of growth and success.
BY Hannah Buchholz
For students across the country, developing an array of “soft skills” is critical in preparing for life after high school. Soft skills often matter more than what their transcript says. As young adults leave home for the first time, they're thrown into new situations. Plus, the employment landscape is always shifting due to the rise of remote work and new technologies.
As technology such as AI and machine learning advances, many traditional technical skills will be outsourced to automation platforms. More than ever, employers will evaluate potential job candidates according to their “human” qualities and aptitudes that machines can’t replicate. Strong soft skills will further a student's chances of growth and success no matter what field they end up in.
10 Soft Skills for Future Success
- Conflict Management: In our broken world, conflict is guaranteed. Workplaces are growing more complex, and it's inevitable that you'll work with someone who holds a disparate worldview. What matters is how you identify and resolve issues. We want to teach students productive and positive ways to handle conflict. Good conflict management directly impacts the outcome of projects or team solidarity and success.
- Communication: You might thrive on communication via emoji or gif. But, verbal and written communication skills remain core to every career. Being able to communicate not only with your peers but bridging generational and cultural gaps is a sure way to set a person apart as a leader in the workforce.
- Emotional Intelligence: How well do you know your emotional state? How well can you respond to the emotional expression of others? Can you communicate your feelings in a clear manner and handle interpersonal interactions with empathy? EI is a key contributor to the success of those in leadership and management positions, no matter their career.
- Time Management: Life can be chaotic. We all have demands on our time from friends, family, education, and work. Technology and social media can be a constant distraction. How well can you juggle your priorities and deadlines? Can you multi-task, sort tasks by importance, and carve out time to invest in the pursuits that will matter most in your life? Sometimes it can be as simple as starting with overcoming the all-powerful snooze button!
- Productivity Management: An offshoot of time management, this skill deals with focusing on tasks and projects that further concrete goals and growth. Alongside handling the daily schedule demands, how can you ensure the higher priority tasks and deadlines are being met?
- Culture Building: When you enter the workforce, will you assimilate into the culture of their office and team? Or, even better, will you shape and influence the established culture for the better? Will others look to you to establish teamwork? Can you motivate outlying employees and foster values such as integrity and perseverance in the workplace? After four years at LuHi, students will have heard a consistent message on the importance of upholding culture.
- Customer Service: Even if you don't end up in a customer service job, you'll still interact with customers, vendors, clients, or partners. The ability to communicate well with coworkers, fulfill requests, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of professional dissatisfaction can enhance your career success.
- Stress Management: About 1 in 4 Gen Zers say they are anxious. Over half feel strong internal and external pressure to be successful.1 Stress can be crippling and even lead to depression. Those who manage anxiety, stress, and expectations will positively contribute to their working and personal relationships.
- Storytelling: Good storytelling engages an audience and forms a deeper connection. Learning how to tell stories that further a company's brand or marketing efforts will set you apart as someone passionate about changing customers' lives for the better.
- Change Management: The only thing we can rely on to be consistent is the inevitability of change. Anticipating and planning for change in life is a key indicator of a healthy mindset. Being flexible and adaptable will help you manage stressful situations. You can even use it to your advantage to see new growth opportunities. Flexibility and adaptability are often overlooked as soft skills, but we challenge students in this area daily.
3 Ways LuHi Teaches Soft Skills
- Hold students accountable: Teachers set academic standards for a reason. We want students to know they can be high achievers, but without accountability, they may never reach their full potential. In the classroom, teachers expect students to meet deadlines, communicate openly when they need help, and uphold the LuHi culture. We daily hold the line on dress code, being on time, and being respectful to others. Being held accountable may not feel great all the time, but it pays dividends in students’ futures.
- Exhibit good soft skills in our own lives: High schoolers learn by example. When we arrive on time, have good communication skills, or model good conflict resolution, students take note. They notice the way the adults in their lives handle things, and one of the best gifts we can give them is to model the body of Christ in our soft skills.
- Give grace and encouragement: We all mess up from time to time on soft skills. It’s important to offer students encouragement to keep trying to improve. We walk a fine line to hold students accountable while still giving them grace. For example, when a student misses a deadline, we offer an appropriate consequence. But we also offer encouragement that it's not the end of the world and guide them with ways to do better next time.
By teaching soft skills, we offer a balanced approach to personal and professional development. We teach students to take the lead in a world that will challenge them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s only wise to equip them to handle challenges with an array of tools and techniques they’ve learned in high school.
This article was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2023 for accuracy.
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