soft skills

Soft Skills for College and Professional Success

The assignments you create for your course can provide students with an opportunity to develop skills that will prove essential to their career success. Consider the possibilities: An in-class presentation can provide practice for the presentations they may lead during meetings or web conferences. Collaboration with classmates on a group project can prepare them for the experiences they’ll have as a member of a team within an organization. And,the papers students write as summations of the concepts they’ve learned in your class can help them hone the communication skills they’ll need to create weekly or monthly reports. In the process of completing Read More…


Success Strategies for Teamwork in the Online Setting

Group assignments teach students far more than simply what they glean from the research they conduct and the project they complete. Astute students will also learn important lessons about communicating clearly, establishing plans and schedules, and collaborating in a proactive and positive manner. They may also hone their leadership skills along the way. Students taking online courses gain the additional benefit of learning to work with others in technology-mediated settings. They’ll find that the skills that they gain from collaborating online will prove highly useful, especially if they take positions within today’s multi-locational companies and organizations, which rely heavily on Read More…


Teaching Students Skills that Transfer to the Workplace

No matter which field your students plan to enter, their careers will require skills that enable them to communicate in an effective manner. And, because technology facilitates so much of the communication that takes place in today’s professional settings, digital literacy remains an important factor in students’ ability to perform their future roles in a competent manner. In this video, authors Susie H. VanHuss and Vicki Robertson highlight the importance of teaching students practical skills, such as keyboarding, that they can transfer from the classroom to their careers. As they discuss some of the real-world Read More…


Activity: Using a Planner as a Tool for Student Success

A planner is a highly useful time-management tool that can help you keep your important activities and responsibilities in order. You can use it to create a schedule for all of life’s important (and not-so-important) events, and let it serve as a reminder of important due dates, meetings, and appointments. As you’ve likely noticed, a wide variety of planners are available to you, from traditional leather-bound journals with gilt edges, to snappy six-ring personal organizers you can customize with various inserts and tabs, to smartphone apps that allow you to keep and share your schedule via the cloud. No Read More…


Know Your “Online Brand”

Whether we’re sharing our thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, posting the location of our latest meal to Foursquare, uploading crazy cat videos to YouTube, sharing photos via Instagram, creating pin boards devoted to our hobbies (and obsessions) on Pinterest, or experimenting with the latest and greatest app, it’s clear that many of us enjoy making use of the many social media tools available to us. We can connect with each other, have a laugh, and exchange information that ranges from deeply personal to outright silly. Though our original intent may be lighthearted, we do need to be aware that some (if not much) of Read More…


Using LinkedIn to Build Professional Connections

In the not-so-distant past, maintaining an up-to-date record of your professional connections’ contact information required a great deal of vigilance. If a distant colleague moved to another institution, you might not know it until you tried calling his or her office and were told they were no longer there. Now, social networks help you keep in touch with the contacts you’ve made, discover and share information relevant to your field, and maintain connections with ease. Though many people join Facebook to maintain these relationships, some find that it’s more casual than they’d prefer for their professional lives. If Read More…


Best of the Blog: Crafting Engaging and Successful Lectures

As we wrap up this “Best-Of” series at the Cengage Learning Blog, we’re highlighting an article that addresses one of the soft skills that can greatly enhance your effectiveness as an instructor: your presentation style. In this popular post, Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins shows you how to “Say ‘Goodbye’ to the Boring Lecture.” Read on, and you’ll gather her top tips for lectures and presentations that engage students in the material you’re striving to communicate to them. Want more? Read the following posts, packed with suggestions for enhancing your professional and personal skills:

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Tips for Students: Polishing Your Professional Portfolio

As students wrap up work in your class, many of them are also getting set to apply for jobs. If that’s the case, pass along these suggestions for building an effective and impressive portfolio that can help them put themselves, and their work, in the best possible light. As many job seekers and hiring managers will tell you, a portfolio can be a useful way to demonstrate your proficiency within your area of study or professional expertise. Your portfolio can –and should — be as unique as you are. Depending on the field in which you work (or hope to work), Read More…


Improving Networking Effectiveness

When searching for a new job or embarking on a new career path, who you know can make all the difference. Someone who knows you and trusts in your professional skills putting in a good word on your behalf can go a long way to landing an interview, and ultimately, a job. In Active Interviewing: Branding, Selling, and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Job, author Eric P. Kramer writes that “research shows that as many as 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking” (154). There are many ways to make these all-important connections — Read More…


Making the Most of Convention and Event Attendance

Events, conventions, and workshops offer unique opportunities to gather knowledge, exchange ideas, learn new skills, and hear about the latest developments in your field. While there, you also have a chance to connect with other people who share your personal and professional interests. And if you’ve traveled to the meeting, you’ll hopefully have a chance to experience some of the local highlights as well! In our “success map” for convention and event attendance, Cengage Learning Events Specialists Jason Berena, Sarah Miskelly, and Ilana Sims share their top suggestions for getting everything possible out of your investment, and share strategies for planning Read More…