Higher Education

The Little Things (i.e. Soft Skills) Matter

A short video clip about the simple ways faculty can help students develop important soft skills

Hear from one recruiter on how the little things, like thank you’s and follows, do matter when it comes to landing a job.


Jennifer Kaplan:

Students that we see clearly, they’re bright, they’re curious, they’re interesting, they want to do well, but sometimes it’s the little things. And I was actually talking, JD, you’ll get a kick out of this, I was talking to my brother yesterday who’s an org psych professor and organizational behavior. He was at Stern with us for a little while, and I was talking to him about this panel and he gave me this great example. He said, you had a student who asked him for advice and he wrote this long email back of advice, and he said he was happy to do it, but the student never responded, never said thanks for the advice.

And I was talking to my brother, that’s such a great learning experience where my brother as a faculty member could have just gently said, I was so happy to provide you with this advice. It may help you to at least respond in the future. A thank you. Those are the things that as you’re looking for jobs, I’m amazed at how many times I don’t get a thank you after an interview. Or to Zach’s point, I go travel and I don’t get a note afterwards or people aren’t responsive. I think those little things where you can just give these learning nuggets of how to act in the real world, go so far in not only that job search, but just what it’s like then when you go out and you work in the world.

So some of those, I don’t know if softer skills, JD, you’ll have to correct me, that might not be the right term anymore, but just those little things, how to say thank you, how to accept feedback, how to acknowledge people. I think those are some things faculty can really play a big role in, because students clearly admire you and look up to you, and not all students have that in their personal lives. They may not have that in their family lives.