How Your College Degree Taught You Soft Skills Without You Realizing It


“Soft skills” has become a human resources buzzword. Many employers are interested in hiring people with those skills that can’t be taught (at least not easily) – communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, time management, and adaptability, for example.

If you’re looking for a job or soon will be, don’t worry so much about how to list a bachelor degree on your resume. There’s an Education heading for that. Focus instead on the soft skills you’ve learned.

What, though, if you’re new to the workforce with little experience under your belt? Don’t worry! Odds are you acquired the soft skills you need while earning that degree. Find out how.



Your college education has been fraught with opportunities to practice your communication skills. You were asked to write reports or answer test questions with a few written paragraphs. You’ve given oral presentations in front of the class. Maybe you even read poetry at an open mic night at the campus coffee shop.

All of these things help shape your communication skills. You may receive instruction on how to put your report or presentation together. You might get direct feedback from a professor or even from observing the body language of your listeners.

If you’ve spoken to large groups or in a competitive setting, you can include these directly on your resume.

In the workplace, goals, roles, and responsibilities should all be clearly communicated. This overlaps with interpersonal and teamwork skills, which we will discuss next.

Interpersonal Skills

At university, you interact with others every day. You may learn conflict resolution skills while dealing with a difficult roommate or professor. Perhaps you’ve taken a psychology or sociology class and become more familiar with concepts of human interaction.

You may even have had experience with digital etiquette if you took some of your classes online. Since more and more workplaces are utilizing digital meeting and collaboration software like Zoom, this is a trending soft skill.

Every social interaction you’ve had in the past informs the decisions you make and the actions you take today. You may be able to express these traits in your job interview by describing yourself as a people person. You might also highlight that you function well in group settings – we’ll talk about that next.



Teamwork is a vital skill in practically every workplace. No matter what you do, your work requires input, instruction, or cooperation from others. This is true even if you work remotely!

Your college experience taught you teamwork in many ways. Perhaps you played for a sports team or competed with an academic team. Likely, some of your classes required collaborative group projects. Even splitting the chores with your dorm mates required teamwork in action.


From day one, colleges are an excellent training ground for adaptability. When you move into your freshman dormitory, you must adjust to living in a new place away from your family, getting along with strangers who now share your space, and having increased personal freedom.

Adaptability describes your ability to adjust to changing circumstances. It’s important in the workplace because projects, goals, and technology are in constant flux.

Your classes also require adaptability. Each semester, you not only study new subjects, but you likely have a new schedule as well. Perhaps you have to wake up early for certain classes or take night classes. When you do, you are learning to be adaptable. You are also learning time management, which we will discuss next.

Time Management


Time management is key to being a productive employee. When you manage your time well, you get to work on time and complete tasks according to schedule.

Most college students are very busy and must develop or hone their time management skills in order to succeed. You will have to balance changing class schedules as described above with things like athletic practice, club meetings, social events, part-time jobs, tutoring, and time for self-care.

When you graduate, it is proof positive that you’ve acquired the skills listed above. Your diploma shows that you both survived and thrived!

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills, honed during the pursuit of a college degree, play a significant role in shaping individuals into effective leaders. The college experience offers ample opportunities for personal and professional growth, fostering the development of crucial leadership traits. Engaging in group projects and class discussions cultivates strong communication skills, allowing future leaders to effectively convey ideas and motivate their teams.

Additionally, leading student organizations or clubs provides hands-on experience in decision-making, delegation, and conflict resolution. The college also promotes critical thinking and problem-solving, enabling leaders to make informed choices and find innovative solutions. By navigating challenging coursework and managing time effectively, individuals acquire the self-discipline and adaptability necessary for successful leadership. Ultimately, the college degree journey subtly imparts essential leadership skills, empowering graduates to excel in diverse leadership roles.

The college degree journey subtly imparts essential leadership skills, empowering graduates to excel in diverse leadership roles, both within their careers and communities at large.

Key Takeaways


When you walk away with your diploma on graduation day, you have more than just a degree. You are also equipped with rich experiences from time spent in the classroom, in extracurricular activities, in the dorm, and at your part-time job. These include but are not limited to communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, adaptability, and time management.

Soft skills such as these are in high demand across industries. Because it is difficult to teach someone these traits as you would a technical skill, many employers look for candidates who have already displayed them.

Incorporate these skills into your resume’s task descriptions and how you speak about yourself at your next job interview. These soft skills can make up for any lack of on-the-job experience. Don’t underestimate yourself or the power of your experiences!