Skills you’ll need for every career, and why they’re in every major

A group of students discuss around a table

No matter what your career goals might be, there are some crucial skills you’ll need to bring that every employer will appreciate (or even require). But what are they, and how do you develop them? Some of them have dedicated classes where you can hone your abilities, and others simply ask you to use and practice them alongside other learning goals. What you can be sure about is that you’ll find opportunities to learn them all at Colorado State, regardless of your academic major.

#1. Writing

While it’s sometimes underestimated and underappreciated, having strong writing and grammar skills will get you far in the world. No matter which job you might find yourself in someday, you’ll need the ability to write clearly, efficiently, and without large errors (even the jobs you might not think require it). You’ll have multiple opportunities to hone your writing abilities at CSU, including multiple college composition courses, required of almost every incoming CSU student as a part of their All-University Core Curriculum. These courses will ensure you’re prepared to handle the written communication skills of your classes throughout your time in college, and, more importantly, will serve you well in your future career. Beyond that, you’re unlikely to find a major that won’t require advanced writing skills, from word-focused majors like English all the way to STEM majors like Engineering and Biology.

#2. Presenting and speaking to groups

Whether presentations and public speaking are your phobia or your strength, there’s little doubt you’ll get through life without having to dip your toe in once or twice. Even jobs that might not appear to be speaking focused will often present opportunities that require you to speak in front of a group with confidence and the ability to articulate your point. At CSU, you will likely present anything from group projects to research work in your classes, labs, or undergrad research events. You’ll have opportunities to practice speaking and preparing your presentations, eliminate some of the nerves around presenting, and hone your abilities as you progress through your major as well as some of your required core classes.

#3. Teamwork and collaboration

Group projects are almost synonymous with education — you’ve probably had a class that required group work long before coming to college. And, don’t underestimate the power of an ability to work well with others — there likely isn’t a career path in the world that won’t require you to be on a team, lead a team, or assist someone else leading a team. Being able to take any of those roles in a group and thrive/support your team accordingly is a skill every job will covet. You’ll find group work in every major at CSU, from your collaborative work in science labs to small group discussions in lecture classes to the classes that go beyond campus for hands-on learning.

#4. Problem solving

We’d be surprised if “good problem-solving skills” wasn’t on every job description ever written. Being able to spot an issue, brainstorm ways to fix it, and either test solutions or carry one out immediately is necessary in every career. Whether you’re slinging espresso at a coffee shop or jumping into your first year as an IT specialist or K-12 educator, problem solving is going to be crucial. In fact, it may be one of the core goals of every academic path at CSU. Our students tackle basic problems, like solving mathematical equations, and also in more-complex ways, discussing global and local problems in politics, society and health. Having the ability to both understand and troubleshoot both small-scale and large-scale problems will be an asset employers won’t overlook.

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Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.