13 Essential Skills For Students To Learn For Career Growth

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Students can benefit from learning in-demand skills that promote holistic career development. These include various skills to enhance your skills and become job-ready, including hard and soft skills that support analytical thinking and curiosity. Knowing and developing these skills can be beneficial to meet your educational learning requirements and career goals. In this article, we discuss 13 popular skills for students that you can learn in an academic and professional setting.

13 essential skills for students to learn

Skills for students are necessary to develop professionally and enhance experiential learning. Developing essential learning skills can help students improve their future career prospects and prepare them to excel academically. These skills can also teach students to think creatively, solve complex problems, develop analytical thinking and communicate efficiently. You can also add these skills to your CV to show your strengths to prospective employers when applying for jobs. Since many of these skills are transferable, students can use them in various situations and professions.

Here are some common skills for students to focus on:

1. Communication

Communication is an essential skill for students as it forms a crucial part of their everyday school and college learning. It helps them convey their ideas effectively to their classmates and teachers. This soft skill equips students to engage in meaningful and active conversations with people around them to enhance their learning process. Communication includes both written and verbal communication, and students can use both forms of communication to express their ideas. Having excellent communication skills also enables students to build meaningful professional connections and ensures that the listener understands what they are trying to convey.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

2. Collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration refers to students working together in a group or team to achieve a collective goal and advance their learning outcomes. Many school projects require students to work together on projects and present their ideas. Strong collaboration skills allow them to complete their allotted tasks on time while ensuring learning and productivity. You can develop this skill by interacting and working with your fellow team members or classmates and participating in extracurricular activities, such as events of sports clubs or debate unions. Working in a team also builds your interpersonal and decision-making skills.

3. Time management

Time management is a crucial skill for students as it allows them to prioritise their most essential tasks and complete them on deadlines. Effective time management skills help students plan their class and project schedules and meet their academic goals. One critical aspect of time management is dividing large tasks into achievable goals and devising a suitable action plan. You can learn this by allocating adequate time for each small task. For example, if you have a research project due at the end of the semester, consider dividing it into smaller tasks to avoid work overload.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

4. Organisational skills

Students usually work on multiple projects of various subjects simultaneously, so they can benefit from having good project management and organisational skills. Strong organisational skills can enable students to prioritise their tasks and allocate their resources efficiently for each assignment. This skill also helps students create detailed notes, work schedules and course materials according to the relative importance of each task. For example, a student with organisational skills can devote the required amount of time to prepare for their final exams since they may have already completed their class tasks.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition And Examples

5. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is beneficial for students as it supports their holistic development and prepares them for the challenges of academic and professional life. Having strong critical thinking skills means being able to process information quickly and interpret its meaning to develop a rational conclusion. This skill enables students to analyse factual data when performing essential academic tasks, such as writing research papers or project reports. Students can also use critical thinking to enhance their performance in mathematics and statistics or while participating in debates. Since this skill requires strong analytical skills, it can also help develop decision-making skills.

Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions And Examples

6. Creativity

Creativity is essential for all students because it prepares them to think and perform uniquely. Having good imagination can help students excel, allowing them to present their authentic ideas and produce original work. This skill enables students to think differently and innovate their learning to enhance their overall school performance. You can also use creativity to discover and suggest alternative solutions to a current issue or solve complex problems. Creativity can also help students identify artistic pursuits as their preferred career.

7. Problem-solving

Having good problem-solving skills can assist students throughout their school and professional life. Students can benefit from strong problem-solving abilities to help them deal with uncertain situations and academic challenges. This skill can help students excel academically and solve complex mathematical problems, scientific hypotheses or research questions. When students work in school, this skill can assist them in completing assessments, school projects and research work while strengthening their core decision-making abilities. Students with good problem-solving skills can use their solution-oriented mindset to find alternative ways of solving a problem.

8. Curiosity

Curiosity is an essential soft skill for students to accept and learn new ideas, opportunities and experiences. It refers to an individual's desire to learn more about a particular subject. Having a willingness to pursue and learn new things can help students enhance their knowledge. In school, curious students tend to ask more questions because they are interested in learning about various aspects of a topic. They also usually perform independent research and study outside of the academic course, alongside participating actively in extracurricular activities.

9. Adaptability

Having the adaptability or flexibility to adjust to changing environments, people and learning experiences can enable students to develop essential professional and life skills, such as resilience and determination. When students are adaptable, they are more likely to accept changes in the curriculum or their way of learning, which allows them to learn and perform better. Having adaptability as a core skill can help students achieve their full potential while excelling in school. One way to develop this skill is by engaging in real-life or situation-based problems and finding innovative methods to adapt to that situation.

10. Technical literacy

Having knowledge of technology, or technical literacy, can help students perform their school and work tasks effectively. Technological literacy is an essential life and professional skill for students as it helps them gain the required expertise in carrying out administrative, logistical and planning tasks. In school, having the relevant technical knowledge can help enhance a student's overall learning experience as it equips them to complete their assignments and projects effectively. This skill also refers to understanding various technical equipment like tablets, software and web browsers for a comprehensive subject learning experience.

11. Evaluation and analytical skills

Evaluation, assessment and analytical skills that help process different information to form a conclusion are essential for students. When students have strong evaluation skills, they are more likely to focus better on their studies by analysing different concepts and topics comprehensively. Students can also use this skill to perform introspection and evaluate their class performance to keep track of their progress. For example, students can compare their grades in various exams and determine areas for improvement to excel at school.

Related: Basic Computer Skills: Definition And Examples

12. Leadership

Leadership is an essential academic and professional skill that equips students with the required confidence to lead projects and manage teams. When students have excellent leadership skills, they can give their best performance in academic and extracurricular activities at school. This skill helps students position themselves as more reliant and credible. Strong leadership skills also instil a sense of ownership, accountability, responsibility and empathy in students. Students can develop their leadership skills by joining a student council, leadership activity clubs or volunteering to lead group projects and assignments.

13. Perseverance

Having perseverance or determination at school can help students excel academically while supporting their long-term career goals. This skill is essential for students as it enables them to perform despite the challenges or obstacles. Perseverance also allows students to view challenges as opportunities and develop academically and professionally. Students can use this skill to complete their classroom assignments, commit to studies or exams and improve their overall school performance. This skill also allows students to deal with difficult situations in a healthy manner.

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