Four Unexpected Soft Skills to Develop Before Starting Your First Job

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Congratulations! You got the job. Whether it’s a summer internship, a first full-time job as a post-graduate or you’re well into your young professional career, entering a new role is always filled with excitement and anticipation of what you will learn. While respect, punctuality, humility and professionalism are tried and true soft skills to bring into the workplace, I’ve learned that some of the most important skills I’ve had to master are some of the least mentioned.  After three internships spanning government, internal and external communications, I’ve discovered four common soft skills that will help you shine as a person and a professional in any new setting.

1) Have an Updated Elevator Pitch

As any established public relations professional will tell you, having an elevator pitch is a surefire way to be prepared to meet anyone at any time. If you haven’t prepped yours yet, it is a 30 second to 1-minute blurb about yourself that could be told to someone while riding on an elevator. While you may have already scored the job, only the select few people that hired you actually know you. Whether you work for a company of 12 or 1,200, your fellow co-workers will surely be asking about your story and how you came to work at your new job. Your hometown, university, major and hobbies are all great starting points and also serve as easy connectors if you and your co-workers discover something in common.

2) Get After Goal Setting

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of scoring your first job or internship, don’t let your enthusiasm blind you from continuing to grow and develop as a professional. Take the initiative and approach your boss or supervisor with goals you have developed and set for yourself in your role. Want to perfect your skills with Adobe Creative Suite? Pitch and land your first magazine spot? Organize and execute an event? Setting goals is a great way to make sure you’re continuing to grow and expand your skill set while also proving yourself as a diligent and focused new employee.

3) Simplify Small Talk

One of the most surprising parts about entering the workforce whether through internships or post-graduate jobs is how social the work environment can be. Coming out of college, you may not have had to meet and work with new faces in months or even years. Start becoming comfortable with making small talk as most of your co-workers will be strangers at first. Be open. Be kind. Be okay with some initial awkwardness. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are close work relationships.

4) Be Nosey About the News

As a professional working in public relations, communications, marketing or any related field, understanding and being aware of local and world news will set you up for success. From office conversations to business decisions, there’s a good chance you’ll be involved in or asked about something news related during work. It’s also a great idea to be well-versed on news and trends in your specific field. Take a few minutes when you get to your desk in the morning to browse, Adweek or a publication that’s specific to your industry to keep yourself well informed.

Kensington Wieland is a recent graduate, PRSA member, and works in PR & Social Media for a global hospitality company based out of Miami, Florida.



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