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6 essential skills you can start building today

April 30, 2020

Re Essentialskills Post GraphicIn partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education

While technical skills are what you do at work, essential skills are how you do it. Employers value these skills in their employees—often as much as technical skills. Developing these skills and helping employers to understand your expertise will help you to get a job and make you a superstar in your workplace.

Learn more about each essential skill below and start building them today by trying an essential skill building challenge.

Emotional Intelligence

Considering the feelings and perspectives of others to infuse empathy and thoughtfulness into all interactions. Working on your own self-awareness to approach situations with humility, kindness and patience.

Communication

Exchanging information, feelings and meaning in person or digitally through actions, words, body language, listening and writing to achieve understanding among people.

Creative & Critical Thinking

Using imagination and problem solving to apply knowledge or address challenges in new, exciting and innovative ways. Using reasonable and logical thought to prioritize, make decisions and achieve a desired outcome.

Collaboration

Building helpful, respectful and productive relationships with others to work toward a common goal. Using strategies that incorporate the ideas of many people to promote agreement or compromise. Listening to critique with openness and approaching conflict with an inclusive mindset. Leveraging a variety of skills, strengths and diverse backgrounds on a team

Dependability

Building trust with others by keeping your word. Managing your time by planning and controlling how your work time is spent to achieve goals. Meeting deadlines and producing quality work. Taking initiative and working independently to move things forward.

Resourcefulness

Relentlessly seeking solutions and opportunities. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and knowing when to ask for help or lean on another person’s expertise. Being a lifelong learner who approaches problems and obstacles with perseverance, adaptability and a make-it-happen mentality.

Essential Skill Building Challenge

TK-Kindergarten

Develop creative thinking from an early age by asking your students to play the part of a character in their favorite book. Ask them questions about why they did the things in the story and make up new stories for the same character. Scholastic highlights great ways to encourage creative thinking from an early age. 

Elementary

Distance learning requires students to be resourceful. Look around the house for supplies to make your own math manipulatives to model a classroom math problem, or recreate a painting you might see in a museum. You might also be able to find baking soda and vinegar and explore how to make a gas by mixing a liquid and a solid!

Middle School

Communication is more challenging now than ever. Make a list of all the ways you stay in touch with the people around you. Do you communicate differently with friends than family? How do you communicate with your teacher and classmates? What is the easiest form of communication for you? Do you think it’s the same for everyone? How do you think your communication will be different in the workplace? 

High School

Learning from home has a lot of parallels to working from home! Use Canva or a similar program to make an infographic on one of the essential skills above showing how you are developing those skills through distance learning, and how they are being used in the workplace as people work from home.

Adults

Lifelong learning is a key to staying relevant in today’s job market. Learn more about and expand your essential skills with on-demand videos, which provide actionable tips you can implement at home, during your job search and in the workplace.

The open source artwork and option to order prints of our Essential Skills Poster can be found here.

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