4 Career Skills for Students to Develop

When studying for exams and writing essays for school, it can feel as if your educational career and future professional career are two totally separate entities that don’t overlap; in reality they are not. There are many skills students can develop while in school that can help their future careers, such as working well in groups, prioritizing tasks efficiently, and more.

These “soft skills” are traits that employers are often looking for and that can give you the leading edge when applying for jobs post graduation. Here are four career skills students can start to develop now:


All of those group projects your teachers assign have valuable lessons to prepare you for your future career. Teamwork is vital in many jobs, and the ability to productively work with others is a skill employers look for. Use your time in group projects to develop your listening and communication skills, to share ideas, and to better understand the types of roles needed to make a team run smoothly. This is also a great time to work on your leadership skills.

To get even more skilled in this area, consider joining some extracurricular activities, such as any of the following:

  • Sports teams

  • School newspaper

  • Debate club

  • Marching band or orchestra

  • Community volunteering

Many schools have a wide array of clubs and groups for you to choose between. There is often an activity for every interest, so don’t rule anything out! Any chance you have to practice completing tasks with others will help you build skills that will make you a valuable asset to a future employer.


Communication skills are an important part of teamwork, but they are also important in many other areas of your future career. Employers look for people who excel in various forms and types of communication. Take your time in school to develop this skill. When you have a question in class, ask! Practice sending concise and professional emails to your teachers for further clarification on assignments, in order to improve your written communication skills. Take a public-speaking class or consider joining a debate team to improve your oral communication skills. All of these things will help to prepare you for your future career.


Just as you don’t know all the answers at school without doing some research, you won’t always know all the answers at work either. Take the time while you are still in school to really practice and develop your research skills. Employers appreciate people who see problems that arise, delve into them, and come up with possible solutions. Hone your research skills by looking deeper into subjects than just what the teacher has assigned; try to find primary source documents, double-check the validity of sources you use, and keep asking more questions until you are satisfied with the answers you have!

Time management

Now is the time to really practice your time management skills. In your career, you will often have multiple large projects going at once that will need juggling, as well as smaller things that may come up on a daily basis. It is important to have good strategies for time management already developed. Pay attention now to your habits: do you tend to procrastinate big assignments? Do you forget to write down details or due dates? How do you prioritize your tasks? Try some organizational systems to see what works best for you. Now, while in school, is a good time to experiment with the ways that work best for you to manage your time so that you are prepared for all the things that your new career sends your way!

[RELATED: 5 Qualities of Outstanding High School Leaders]

Teamwork, communication skills, research skills, and time management are all “soft skills” that you can develop for your future career while still in school. By working on these skills now, you will better prepare yourself for your future, as well as make yourself a valuable asset to employers.

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