How Career Services Can Enhance ‘Soft-Skills’ in Students

In today's job market, having the right technical skills is no longer enough to succeed. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates who possess a range of soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These skills are essential for building strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers, and for adapting to the changing demands of the workplace. Writing for TED, author and marketing expert Seth Godin says, “We give too little respect to the other skills when we call them 'soft' and imply that they’re optional. What actually separates thriving organizations from struggling ones are the difficult-to-measure attitudes, processes and perceptions of the people who do the work…Let’s stop calling them soft. They’re interpersonal skills. Leadership skills.” So what can career services do to give these soft skills the respect they deserve and ensure students stand out?

What Are Soft Skills?

First, let’s dive into what soft skills are. They are personal attributes that enable individuals to interact effectively with others in the workplace, according to the Harvard Business Review. These skills are often difficult to measure and quantify, but they are essential for building strong relationships and achieving success in any job. Some examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication: the ability to convey information clearly and effectively to others.
  • Teamwork: the ability to work collaboratively with others towards a common goal.
  • Problem-solving: the ability to identify and solve problems in a creative and effective manner.
  • Adaptability: the ability to adjust to changing circumstances and work effectively in new situations.
  • Leadership: the ability to inspire and motivate others towards a common goal.

Soft Skills Importance

Second, soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today's job market for several reasons. First, as the workplace becomes more diverse and globalized, effective communication and teamwork are essential for building strong relationships with colleagues and clients from different backgrounds. Second, as technology continues to transform the workplace, workers need to be adaptable and able to learn new skills quickly. Finally, as companies become more customer-focused, workers need to be able to solve problems creatively and provide excellent customer service.

What Can Career Services Do?

Soft Skills Workshop
Offer trainings and workshops with employers and career coaches on developing communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. These provide practical strategies and guidance to students while also helping them gain confidence in their abilities. This can be done in collaboration with faculty members by presenting during part of a course and how they can utilize the things they are learning in the classroom and apply them to a job.

Mock Interviews

These practice interviews provide a safe place for students to practice their communication and problem-solving skills in a simulated job interview setting. This can help job seekers to identify areas where they need to improve and develop strategies for addressing these areas with the help of the career services office. These mock interviews can help students translate their internship, experiential learning, or  time working at a restaurant, dog walking, etc. to landing the job. 

Resume and Cover Letter Reviews
When you hold resume and cover letter reviews, be sure to find ways to help job seekers to stand out to potential employers by translating their soft skills to a job application. Conveying to students that your office can help students demonstrate their ability to work effectively in a team and communicate effectively with others is how you can advertise these services on your campus so that it’s not just going through a checklist.

Career Pathways

Within CSM, institutions can utilize the Pathways module that you can set up specifically for the goals your office wants to support students with. Pathways is designed to support general career planning by automating workflows, reducing manual work, and easily measuring success. Pathways can be developed to have students do role playing activities to demonstrate effective communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and more by watching an educational video, attending a workshop, or watching a lecture about a particular soft skill topic.

Within each Pathway there are steps and activities that can be tied to standard CSM functionalities, such as events, advising appointments, or even ones that take place outside the system i.e. watching a YouTube video. 

Pathways enables career services offices can easily take care of students’ prerequisites often required before attending a networking event such as attending a workshop, getting a resume reviewed, or meeting with a career advisor, etc. Career offices can significantly boost student engagement by providing students with an easily accessible career plan and sending automated reminders about upcoming deadlines and activities. Once a student completes a step, they are then able to advance to the next step to help keep them on track on their way to graduate school, an internship, preparing for a networking event, and more.

To learn more about Symplicity CSM and how Pathways can enhance your students’ soft skills e-mail us at or learn more here.


Experiential Learning, Part-time Jobs, Career Centers, Job Posting, Soft Skills

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