By Carlos Grajeda - January 29th, 2019
“They don’t teach you anything you can use in real life!” Have you ever heard anyone complain about college like that? Many people feel that some college classes just aren’t worth their time because they don’t teach skills that are usable at work. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Very often at work, I reach into the tool bag of skills I acquired while earning my Communication degree at CSU-Global.
Here are five valuable lessons that came straight out of my textbooks:
Build a Business Network
Building a robust network of professional colleagues is key to success. You may be looking for a new job, searching for funding, or even garnering support for a project; the more people you can access, the easier that task may become. Having meaningful interactions with others is an important element of career development (Harvard Business Review). Knowing others who can help you achieve your career goals can be great, and it feels fantastic when you’re able to pay that good deed forward by helping someone else in your network.
Respect Diversity in Your Workplace
Looking back, it seems that we spent much of our lecture time understanding multicultural workplaces. When I first came to my current workplace, I immediately noticed there were lots of people who were very different from me. If you’ve always worked with people who share similar interests and speak your language, then you might experience a bit of a shock when that is no longer the case. Remaining open-minded about people who are different from you can lead to the discovery of commonalities, more effective work relationships, and even the formation of new friendships.
Sure, you write many papers while earning a degree in Communication, but is there a good reason for so much work? Absolutely. You can have a brain full of facts, figures, and valuable information, but if you can’t translate all that knowledge into usefulness to your boss, cohorts, or customers, then you might end up frustrated. According to Mindtools.com, managers love employees who can convey messages clearly and concisely, which makes sense because senior managers’ time is so valuable. Therefore, being a great communicator is a solid career-booster, and your boss will love it!
Strengthen Your Team
It’s an unpleasant fact that some work teams fail. While there may be myriad reasons for this, one important fact remains: You must learn to be a good teammate to thrive in today’s business environments. According to Monster.com, some of the most valuable characteristics of a great team player include meeting your deadlines, remaining open-minded, appreciating team members’ differences, always putting team goals first, and acknowledging others’ when they do a good job.
Organize Your Research and Documents
Chances are, you have to stay very organized for the duration of your degree program. I created an easy-to-use, highly organized system for managing my forum posts, responses, source materials, and research papers. That’s a valuable skill to bring to the workplace! I now work at a fast-growing and fast-paced startup, so keeping a steady flow of documents well-organized can make work life easier and more efficient.
I learned many necessary communication skills while in school and they come into practical application everyday. Using these tools and methods can help you perform better at work and keep your career moving forward.
Carlos Grajeda graduated summa cum laude from CSU-Global in 2018 and is a Student Success Advisor at Guild Education in Denver, Colorado. He has an intense passion for all things educational which is superseded only by his love for his rescue dog, Chesty, and bass fishing.