For most students, grades nine through 12 can be quite a challenge academically and socially. However, it’s actually the best time to begin thinking about life after high school. Work readiness for high school students is important because it equips young people with the knowledge they need before entering the workforce.

Whether you decide to attend college or take a job first, vocational skills and academic knowledge are required. You also need “soft skills” or work readiness skills.

Defining Work Readiness Skills and Soft Skills

Work/job readiness skills include foundational cognitive skills like applied mathematics, problem-solving, critical thinking, locating information, and reading for information. Also part of this set of skills is the non-cognitive/soft skills, which are made up of behavioral and personal characteristics that improve a person’s work performance, career prospects, and interactions. Some examples are discipline in the workplace, integrity, adaptability, and cooperation.

How Students Can be Workforce-Ready

There’s no denying the fact that many employers still–and will always put more value on–technical skills. But there are other skills a student needs that are just as desired, and these skills are obtained outside the walls of the classroom.

These vital skills are learned by volunteering at various organizations that help the community, joining internship programs, presenting your own research at various conferences, taking on leadership opportunities in organizations on-and-off campus, and gaining actual work experience.

Work Readiness Skills that Students Should Learn

We live in a competitive world and in order to survive, you need to stand out from the rest. A student is required to hone many abilities and skills to be workforce-ready–something that you cannot do in just a day. Possessing job readiness skills is helpful not only in colleges and universities but also in establishing a profitable career in your chosen field.

  1. Leadership Skills

Every person will always have to choose whether he/she is a follower or a leader. If you think you can be an effective leader, you can join the student union election, class election, or become a club president. These opportunities will test who is liked by the majority of people to be their leader.

But that is not the only way to become a leader. Someone who is a quick-thinker, coordinates well with others, pulls off an event without any problem can step up and take the leadership position. This is an essential soft skill because you can use it to further your career in the future.

  1. Teamwork

Teamwork is something you should master at every stage of your career. Knowing how to work alongside others helps everyone in producing more. Unity is a valuable concept that students should understand. In the workplace, people will need to work together to achieve a common goal.

  1. Positive Attitude

We live in a world filled with many negative things and there has to be one to win hearts using a positive approach. From friends to teachers, everyone will be looking for someone who goes through the academic year with so much positivity. Honing this skill is important because it allows you to maintain a friendly atmosphere with everyone.

A person with a positive attitude is often described as patient, respectful, enthusiastic, cooperative, confident, and has a great sense of humor.

  1. Communication Skills

Whether you’re a student or a working professional, this is a skill you need to master. After all, everyone is required to communicate in the workplace.  You have to understand how to deal with aggressive people and talk to those who are sensitive. Communication skills are very helpful to students–you can use them in almost all areas of your career. They also serve as a golden star on your CV because they are one of the qualities most employers want.

  1. Listening Skills

In order to become an effective communicator, you need to have excellent listening skills first. A good listener is often given the highest degree of respect in society. This should be one of the skills to develop because it is required when pursuing higher education. Simple actions such as making eye contact and nodding your head while someone is speaking to you have a great impact on how people perceive you.

  1. Interpersonal Skills

Skills that allow you to understand the behavior and intelligence of people with whom you work are defined as interpersonal skills. These qualities can help you a lot if you will be working in groups. It gives you an idea of how every person will react to a specific topic or how group dynamics work. By knowing these things, it will be easier for you to organize your ideas in a particular manner that will give you an advantage.

  1. Intrapersonal Skills

With intrapersonal skills, you can clearly understand your beliefs, opinions, thoughts, and yourself in general. The purpose of these skills is to guide you into becoming a better leader with enough knowledge about who you are and your stand on certain ideas and decisions. By understanding yourself, understanding and relating to others will be simpler. You will need these skills the most when you need to do a certain task on your own.

  1. Problem Solving Skills

In situations that may get out of hand, problem-solving skills can help you. Students should be effective problem-solvers to come up with solutions for various situations. Because we live in an uncertain world, any kind of scenario can quickly turn into an unfavorable one. As a student, knowing how to solve simple and complex problems helps you handle all kinds of situations that come your way.

  1. Decision-making

Indecisiveness is not a quality that attracts employers. Students have to know how to make decisions within a certain period of time. You can form the foundation of this skill by selecting which co-curricular activities you want to go or identifying electives to choose. Additionally, people you choose to include in your inner social circle affect how you develop your personality. Even in that regard, decision-making is crucial.

  1. Creative Skills

Thinking out of the box is essential because it expands your imagination. Students need this so they can approach every aspect of work in a creative and innovative manner. Honing these skills also gives you a fresh perspective on the world and come up with answers that others might not be able to see.

Work Readiness for High School Students: Parting Thoughts

If your goal is to succeed in the 21st-century workforce, then you’re going to need more than just technical skills. Students need to learn how to be effective collaborators, empathetic leaders, and savvy communicators.

In addition to those with multiple skillsets, employees who continue to develop themselves as professionals are always in high demand. As a student, you should be aware that the idea of ending education after graduation or earning a college degree is no longer relevant in any field of work.

Instead, employers are actively looking for individuals who are open to continuous learning and can adapt to changing economic needs. Those who demonstrate an ability to adjust to working environment changes and have valuable soft skills are more likely to succeed over others who do not.