by Laura Polk, Assistant Director, Career Services & Corporate Relations, Prescott Campus
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Strong communication is one of the most important skills employers are looking for in entry-level employees. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/ written communications are “the four top-rated competencies…rated above ‘essential’” (NACE, 2019). Therefore, it is not only recommended that you work to improve your communication skills, it is essential if you want to be competitive in your field.
According to NACE, strong oral and written communication skills are being able to “articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively” (NACE, 2019). You can be the best in your field at what you do, but if you are unable to effectively communicate your work and your findings to others, your career will suffer.
In order to improve upon your communication skills, practice makes perfect. Take opportunities to present your work to classmates, professors, or even to an audience at a professional conferences if you get the opportunity. Ask for feedback. The next time you have the opportunity to do a public speaking engagement, work on improving upon your weaknesses. Take advantage of mock interviewing appointments with Career Services to help increase your ability to clearly articulate your experience to prospective employers in order to demonstrate your value as a candidate.
When practicing your written communication, remember that any time you write is a good opportunity to practice your spelling, grammar, and syntax. Even if you are just writing an email to a professor, remember that the way you present yourself through text can make a big impression, and you want it to be a positive one. If you struggle with writing, there are many support networks on campus to help. For example, you can take advantage of the Writing Center at the Prescott or Daytona Beach campuses any day of the week for some extra assistance. This kind of support will not be available once you enter industry, so now is the time to really perfect your writing skills.
Improving upon oral and written communication skills during college will ensure you enter your industry with your best food forward. As always, Career Services is here to help.
Laura Polk is the Assistant Director of Career Services and Corporate Relations for the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott campus. She works with the Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Space Physics, and Astronomy students. She has received her certificate in College Counseling from UCLA and is currently working towards her Masters in Management at ERAU. She has worked for the university for four years. Before joining Embry-Riddle, Laura worked as a private college counselor in southern California. Laura provides professional guidance to students and alumni in the areas of internship and career goals. She is also the lead for the Prescott campus’s Industry/Career Expos.