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10 Practical skills graduates need today

This article is reserved for Aleteia Premium members

Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/23/22

Make sure the young people in your family have the know-how to kick-start their life in the best way possible.

As graduates prepare to step out into the world, they’ll be armed with lots of academic knowledge, but will they have all the practical skills necessary to thrive in the adult world?

Here’s a little checklist we have put together to help your young adult figure out if there are any gaps in their life skills set. While the list is by no means exhaustive, these abilities will certainly get them on the right track!

Parents often take the lead in keeping kids’ clothes spotless at home, and the campus laundromat no doubt kept your casual clothes clean enough — but you may not know how to do the perfect job for smarter wear. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips available at the click of the button, from using your washing machine to washing your delicates by hand.



Your clothes might be all clean, but how to get those creases out? It’s a chore that a lot of people hate doing. Yet, when you turn up for work on your first day, you’ll want to look as though you’ve made an effort. There are many tutorials online, but this one from Good Housekeeping also points out the tricky parts of ironing that will really make you a sharp dresser.

Changing a tire

Changing a tire should be learned as soon as you get your driving permit; however, it’s one of those things that can be neglected. So take a look at this

video that will take you through the tire change step-by-step

Learning some basic DIY skills

From painting a room, to putting up shelves, there are some essential skills that everybody should know. Thankfully, if your parents haven’t shown you, there are a myriad of videos online that can take you through the processes necessary for certain household jobs. Here’s a really basic one to start you off, on

drilling, measuring, and painting

Learning to sew

It’s so important to be able to repair your clothes. Not only will this save you money, but it’s also better for the environment. So take the time to find out how to

sew on a button
and to hem a pair of pants, and you’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction. You might also find it very relaxing!

Balancing your budget

It’s essential to learn some good money habits fas soon as possible. It’s a good idea to draw up a budget to keep you on track. Try to be realistic, and if you are able, then make sure to save some money for bigger projects, emergencies, graduate school, a first home — or even your retirement (those years may seem far away but they creep up quickly!). Here’s a free printable template from College Life Made Easy.

Paying bills (sensibly)

You might be used to paying bills already, but it’s important to make sure you’re paying them correctly. First, don’t risk any penalties by paying them late (it’s a good idea to set up alerts), and also make sure you’re paying the right amount, as sometimes companies make mistakes, too. But also be sure to check your bank balance to avoid any overdraft fees

Finally, it’s worth checking all your subscriptions and insurance policies. You might be paying for things you don’t really use, or there might be better offers on the market. It’s worth taking the time to look around properly, and it might be worth taking advice from your bank or from friends who have great deals.

Good time management

College life might be a little more relaxing than the real world. But tardiness will not pay. Obviously you’ll want to make a good impression at work so do your research about the best commutes, and always give yourself a little leeway so you’re on time in case of an issue. It won’t do you any harm being early. Not only will it give you a moment to relax before the busy day ahead, you could chat with other colleagues who like to get in early.

Communicating effectively

Especially after COVID-19, many youngsters have relied heavily on interacting via various online platforms for both their work and social life. But remember, it’s important to get back into the real world and communicate effectively with others. Here are a few tips on developing those communication skills.

No doubt your parents have told you, but there’s nothing better than greeting people with a smile and good eye contact. And it’s also important to make sure you use correct forms of greeting others online, too. In fact, a young person who has strong written communication skills will really stand from the crowd.

However, it’s equally important to remember when communicating online that older generations might not be so tech-savvy, and they might not have all the lingo that you have. So be patient with others if they’re not up to speed, and don’t be shy in suggesting new apps that might be useful in the workplace — just take the time to explain it in a thoughtful manner.

And finally …

While this is not technically a skill, it’s a piece of common sense that my mother shared with me, and that I’ve stuck to throughout my life: “Never leave a room empty-handed.” It’s a habit that saves time and helps you maintain a tidy(ish) house. It’s a habit worth sticking to, especially if you’re tired after a long day at work, and tidying the house seems a tall order.

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