School is a wonderful academic tool. However, it doesn’t prepare you for every aspect of life. If you’re a high school graduate or college student preparing to dive into the work world, here are a few skills that you should have under your belt from the get-go.

Financial Skills

Financial skills are ground zero for a successful career. If you can’t build your profession on sound finances, you’ll always have money pressures influencing and driving your work activities. Make sure that you start your adult life with some elementary financial skills well in hand, such as:


  • Basic budgeting: The ability to create a budget that accurately reflects your income and expenses is a skill that will serve you for your entire life.
  • Credit management: Managing your credit score, reviewing your credit report, and keeping your credit in good standing will open up the doors to things like auto loans, credit cards, and even a mortgage.
  • Automation and tech: Learning to utilize autopay, direct deposit, banking apps, and other fintech and automation is a great way to streamline your financial responsibilities.


You don’t have to be a master of these concepts right from the beginning. However, you want to have at least a rudimentary idea of how each financial area works as you begin generating paychecks, paying bills, applying for credit cards, and so on.

Job Hunting Skills

Starting off your career can often feel like an uphill battle. You’re working with theoretical training from school and minimal experience. That’s why you want to make sure that you’ve perfected your job hunting skills in a few critical areas:


  • Cover letters: A cover letter has become an essential part of the hiring process. It’s your initial and most important chance to catch the eye of a recruiter by highlighting your unique skills and qualifications for a job.
  • Resume writing: You want your resume to be clean, streamlined, and updated at all times.
  • Interviewing: From a calm attitude to informed responses, make sure to take time brushing up on your interview skills.


There are many metaphorical hoops to jump through while you’re looking for a job. Each of these hoops typically involves a skill that, once mastered, can make it easier to stand out to a recruiter.

Critical Business Soft and Hard Skills

Finally, it’s important to get comfortable with a few different aspects of business regardless of what field you’re going into, such as:


  • Analytics: It’s wise to study things like setting up KPIs (key performance indicators), conducting a SWOT analysis, and otherwise identifying the various metrics that impact a business.
  • Entrepreneurship: A willingness to embrace and understand the business aspect of any enterprise can give you a unique perspective and help you stand out against other candidates.
  • Communication: Communication is the bedrock of proper collaboration, active listening, empathy, and healthy networking throughout your professional career.
  • Remote capabilities: The digital divide is real, and it’s important to practice and demonstrate your ability to work virtually in the modern, remote-first world.
  • A growth mindset: Maintaining a mindset that is willing to learn and grow at all times is pivotal to modern professional success.


Cultivating deep-cut business skills like these is a great way to enhance your resume, improve your professional demeanor, and generally give you a leg up against the professional and post-educational competition.

Starting With the Essentials

As you graduate from school, you have your entire life ahead of you. This gives you plenty of time to learn, grow, and perfect your professional skills.


However, it doesn’t help to have a solid foundation of these skills in place as you start your professional journey. Things like job-hunting skills, financial acumen, and comfort with basic business concepts can all help you go very far in a short amount of time as you launch your career in the months and years ahead.