In Tips for Increasing Your Odds of Career Success After College: Part 1, I discussed the truth about major and minor choice, and the importance of finishing school with a solid GPA, regardless of your field of study. It is also important to discuss certain skills you can concentrate on in college to up your value on the job market in the first years of your career, and for the years to come. Here are three things I suggest learning in college, no matter what your major, to give yourself a head start upon graduation.

1. Writing Skills.

Writing skills matter tremendously. A few weeks ago, my Managing Director made a scary, yet exploitable comment regarding the writing skills of recent college graduates: they have gone downhill and are sometimes, simply put, terrible. This is a perfect opportunity for the recent graduate to stand out; albeit not too tough of a feat either.

As in so much, earlier privilege in life, such as attending a private college preparatory high school, will give a leg up to a certain segment of society. But if your middle and high schools did not emphasize the importance of writing skills, take advantage of undergrad opportunities to learn.

Most schools these days require writing mechanics classes as underclass requisites. Do yourself a favor: pay attention.

2. Basic Business

It's a fact of life: money makes life a little easier. One of the quickest ways to learn this after graduating college, is not finding a job that pays well enough to allow you to have the lifestyle you want. In the majority of cases, business majors will earn more right out of the gate than those who major in the liberal arts (starting salary for a corporate financial analyst: approx. $57K). This is without taking into account the fact that following graduation most business majors pursue a career in one of, if not the, most competitive fields out there.

But you don't have to be a business major to take advantage of courses about how the business world works. Even if your passion is writing and publishing, and you plan on applying for an entry-level editorial assistant position at one of the major publishing houses (starting salary: approx. $30-33K), you don't need to give up on your dream career to make a bit more money, more quickly after graduation.

Many schools offer courses (available to non-majors, and with no pre-requisites) in Financial Accounting, Principles of Marketing, Business Management and Strategy, and more. Going into any position with a solid understanding of how the greater business world works ups your value, and gives you the tools to reach promotion and raise goals more quickly.

3. Web Development Skills

Although it is a tough discipline for the more right-brained among us to learn, programming pays. The demand for basic knowledge of CMS templates such as WordPress, and basic programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript, Ajax and the functions of a style sheet, gives you one of the most business-cycle-proof skill sets out there.

With websites being the first impression of most types of businesses these days, employees are always welcome who are familiar enough with web programming to question how a site might be improved, or to roll up their sleeves and make improvements themselves. At the most basic level, knowing how to insert a javascript pageview tracker in a website's header, rather than having to send out the same work to an outside programmer at $150 an hour, will always give you a leg up, whether you are an executive assistant at at PR firm, or a customer service coordinator at a jewelry design business.

Learn search engine optimization on top of that and you have a great chance of being an entrepreneur, or, if you have no interest in entrepreneurship, a greater chance of quickly becoming an absolutely essential employee, especially within a growing small- or medium-sized business.

Taken together with a well-thought-out major/minor choice, and a personal insistence that you graduate with a good GPA, these three skills will give you the advantage the moment you hit the pavement toward your first interview. If you keep honing your skills and stick to the work ethic that got you through your undergrad degree, you should be on your way to a lucrative - and fulfilling - professional life in no time.

Author's Bio: 

Ken runs KAS Placement:

Chicago Media Recruiters, Chicago Recruiters

Marketing Employment Agencies, Marketing Executive Search Firms

The staffing professionals at KAS Placement have been around since 2005.