Skills of an Online Student and How They Translate to the Workplace

Many job postings often require a certain level of education in order to be deemed qualified and have a chance to be considered for the role. It comes as no surprise that a bachelor’s or master’s degree equips an individual with the knowledge and information that they will need to enter a certain industry and be able to perform essential work duties. The explicit benefit of an appropriately educated candidate for an employer is clear; this holds true for both the traditional degree program and the online degree program. What’s less evident are the soft skills and professional traits that online students develop through their studies that directly improve their value in the workforce.

Today’s online student is held to an immensely high standard. Yes, the flexibility of completing coursework around your busy schedule is a great benefit and may make the online path seem easy, however the mechanics of an online degree push students to develop skills not listed in the course syllabus. Without the face-to-face connection an on-ground student would take part in with both fellow students and professors, the online student must learn how to effectively communicate in an entirely different way. Being able to concisely and effectively ask questions or provide information in a timely matter is a whole new world when your professor could be 2,000 miles away in a different time zone. In fact according to one of the country’s leading public relations agencies, The Grossman Group, those communications skills are so important that it could save your company millions of dollars over the course of a year.

Along with effective communication skills, there is also the improving of both organizational skills and time management. Both of which are important for job output and for maintaining lower levels of stress. Without a set time to physically be present in a classroom, it can be easy to set aside online course work. The online student commands a schedule that fits work, family time, sleep, social life and errands into 24 hours a day – they further develop the ability to find time that seemingly wasn’t present before in order to earn their degree. This skill is crucial in the workplace with tight timelines and many demanding responsibilities.

One of the most lesser-known skills than an online student develops is their ability to work on a team and collaborate with others. Which is vital, as 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Group projects still exist in the online degree format and require students to connect with others they will never meet in person. From establishing a working relationship to setting effective video chat sessions, the flexibility and congeniality of the online student only grows over the course of their time earning a degree. This is especially true considering online degree programs usually host an overall more diverse group of students.

Selecting from a talented pool of candidates for that open position at your company can be a difficult and daunting task. With many components to consider, knowing that an online degree holder will come to you with advanced soft skills beyond their program teachings is invaluable. On the talent-development side within your organization, encouraging your employees to explore an online degree can mean the difference in growing your current team to be an even more skillful unit. Online degree programs truly act as a crucible for professional development and advancement.

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
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