Essential Job Skills You Gain as a Nontraditional Student


Essential Job Skills You Gain as a Nontraditional Student

You probably chose the online degree path because it's flexible and convenient. Earning your degree while holding down a job and still having a little time left for your family is a pretty good deal.

What you probably didn't realize is that getting your degree online would help you develop some pretty significant job skills, the skills most employers look for in job applicants.

Here are 10 essential skills needed in today's job market that you'll develop as an online learner.

  1. Communication skills
  2. Technical skills
  3. Writing skills
  4. Time management skills
  5. Critical thinking skills
  6. Research skills
  7. Problem-solving skills
  8. Commitment and responsibility
  9. Teamwork
  10. Organizational skills

OU Extended Campus College of Professional and Continuing Studies advisor Jennifer Gatlin said online students have to engage more in the areas of communication, time management and critical thinking as a byproduct of not having weekly meetings in classrooms.

"Their connections are established and enhanced through their participation in discussion boards," Gatlin said. "Strong written communication is key to successful participation in a number of elements in each course we offer, and time management is always at the forefront of strengths that emerge from an online program as students fit coursework into their life outside the classroom."

OU Extended Campus students said their online experience has helped them develop and improve many sought-after skills.

Erik Valentine said project management and time management skills were at the top of the list.

"I've also learned technical, editing and research skills," he said.

Gatlin said online students are at an advantage when it comes to learning how to be adaptable.

"University systems seem to be updating every few years, and some students may encounter more than one shift throughout their academic career," Gatlin said. "This enhances our students' ability to adapt to new or varied operating systems and different elements of technology."

These skills are setting up students for long-term success, beginning with the job search itself, Gatlin said.

"These are all excellent terms to be able to present on a resume with confidence, and terms which are appealing to employers across the board," Gatlin said. "These skills are essential in the job market today. Students learn a lot about effective online research methods throughout their programs here, so it's no stretch to believe that they have a solid set of skills to search for jobs as they near graduation."

Learn more about the degrees offered by OU Extended Campus, or start your journey and apply today.

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.