Teens often assume they can’t build working skills until they are able to begin working a paid job. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many skills needed in the workplace can be learned and practiced at a young age in non-work settings.
Human capital refers to the skills, knowledge, and experiences possessed by an individual. It’s the result of investing in oneself. When gaining experience at different jobs, going to school, volunteering, attending workshops, participating in activities, reading, etc. teens are investing in their human capital.
Transferable skills are versatile skills that are applied to personal and professional roles. A person’s ability to organize, clearly communicate, problem solve, and be creative are examples of valuable skills that can be used on the job or transferred to a variety of other jobs they may wish to pursue.
Marketable skills can be organized into four categories:
Interpersonal skills, also known as “people skills” or “soft skills”, allows a person to positively relate to, communicate with, influence, and inspire others. Some examples of interpersonal skills are delegating, coaching, listening, presenting, and demonstrating cooperation between yourself and others.
Analytical skills are the intellectual skills that enable a person to identify and analyze problems and find solutions. When someone develops their analytical skills, they will be able to research topics, gather and analyze data, be creative and identify risks.
Technical skills are specific skills such as computer proficiency and the ability to work with and/or repair specific equipment, instruments, or software.
Organizational skills demonstrates a person’s ability to sort data, plan, arrange projects, maintain accurate records and coordinate multiple resources/tasks. Solid organizational skills make it possible for them to prioritize and manage time, tasks, and resources.
A teen can begin to develop and refine these important skills in a variety of ways that include – but aren’t limited to – working a part-time job.
Hone interpersonal skills at school by participating in student government or joining a club, or in the community by volunteering at a senior citizen center, reading to kids, or serving in church.
Develop analytical and technical skills in specialized courses available at school or a local community college, through internships or apprentice programs.
Gain organizational skills by volunteering to help with clerical duties in the school office, at a library or other nonprofit organization.
These marketable skills are what employers are looking for. Developing them early will give teens an edge and help them stand out from the crowd when being considered for a future job.
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The Center for Financial Empowerment is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower disadvantaged youth through financial literacy education. Find out more about our work.
Invest In Yourself, Take Charge Today, November 2019