Social skills could help combat unemployment

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Unemployment has increased to 7.3 percent in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, employment is a concern for recent graduates.

Mike Bishop, Career Center associate director, said he believes the high rate of unemployment for young adults is because of a deficiency in “soft” social skills, which consist of strong communication, adequate eye contact, leadership qualities and willingness to sacrifice for the company.

“It is not about how much math graduates know, how much science they know or how computer literate they are,” Bishop said. “Companies are telling me they want students who can verbally put 10 sentences together with charm, confidence and personality.”

Soft social skills can be the determining factor whether an employer hires a graduate or not, Bishop said.

Students do not have to wait until they have graduated to start working on social skills; it is constructive to start exercising them now to better prepare for future job opportunities.

“What I tell the students to do is a simple exercise,” Bishop said. “I tell (students) when they are in line, turn around and meet the person, even if the person may be a stranger. Meet several strangers a day, because that will get you away from the awkwardness a lot of students have because they cannot carry on a conversation.”

Tyler Jones, 2012 CBU graduate, got his bachelor’s degree in marketing and now works for Target Corp. as an executive team leader.

“I love my job!” Jones said of his work. “I was recruited, so the job presented itself to me. If I did not have this job lined up, I would imagine it would be tough to search for a brand-new job.”

Jones said his dream is to open a coffee shop in the heart of San Francisco so he can be his own employer. However, since the economy is not stable, he is waiting for the right opportunity to start.

Graduates can take small steps to fight unemployment by establishing better leadership and social skills that will prepare them for future careers.

About Hannah Llop

Asst. Health Editor

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