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Sharpen Communication Skills in College

Good communication skills will help you in the job interview and beyond. Here's an outline of what you need to know as an undergrad.

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Human resource professionals study applicants during the interview process. They examine the candidate's dress, posture, attitude and language. And according to career advice firm Vault.com, interviewers are increasingly asking questions that will help determine the behavior of the applicant. For example, 'what would you do if a customer demands a discount?' So how do you prepare for this once-over by a complete stranger? Hone your communication skills.

Organization

An often overlooked form of communication is your organization and planning skills. But if you come to your interview on time and well prepared, you appear on top of the game. You can increase your organization skills just by doing basic scheduling. Simple steps to an organized habit:

  • Get a decent address book and keep it updated
  • Put things back where they belong
  • Throw away junk
  • Build a document file

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Mass Communication Studies
  • Speech Communications and Rhetoric

Writing

Your clear, correct writing on the application, resume and cover letter lets you shine above the pack. According to the National Academies Press (nap.edu), strong writing ability is crucial in most careers. Administration and management positions especially demand good writers. Interviewers won't even consider an applicant who they believe can't make the cut.

Oral Communication

Speech is the most powerful way humans communicate. Good vocabulary, pronunciation and voice are a strong force. But often getting the right words across is a tough thing to accomplish, especially in a nerve racking situation like the job interview. Here is some help:

  • Keep it conversational
  • Be polite
  • Have passion in your words
  • Be clear and simple (avoid jargon)
  • Short 30-60 second answers

Remember, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch gained fame for firing employees who could not simply communicate what they are doing at work and what they hope to achieve.

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