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How Cross-Cutting Skills Drive Career Advancement

A degree from a reputable college or university might earn you a job, but employers agree that cross-cutting skills are the key to career success. A recent report from the Association of American Colleges & Universities found that business executives and hiring managers believe recent graduates are prepared to succeed in entry-level positions, but higher ed institutions must make improvements to ensure that graduates possess the skills needed for career advancement.

Some of the cross-cutting skills they rated as most valuable in the workplace were oral/written communication, critical thinking, working effectively in teams, and the real-world application of skills and knowledge. Whether you’re a new hire or the CEO of a company, these skills impact business activities on a daily basis. Here’s how.


There is a reason communication is the foundational skill for all other soft skills—it drives every brainstorming session, email exchange, sales meeting and more. No matter the workplace situation, how well you communicate often determines the success of that interaction. The ability to articulate your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge not only makes you a valuable employee, but it also helps you appear more confident. To effectively lead teams and advance in an organization, people need to believe in you and what you represent.


Employers seek out graduates that have critical thinking skills because they are usually independent, higher-order thinkers. When an employee can analyze processes, make sound, ethical judgements, and solve complex problems, it helps a business continuously grow. Having a team of forward thinkers helps organizations develop new, innovative ideas and often improves the decision-making process across all departments.  


Behind every successful business there is a team of individuals who work through obstacles and accomplish tasks together. Whether employees collaborate with others in their own department or work on a cross-functional team, they contribute to how smoothly the company operates. The ability to work alongside your peers successfully helps companies save time and money and be more productive.


Cross-cutting skills impact career success and advancement because employees apply them on the job every day. That’s why practicing them within a real-world context gives employees a solid foundation to build on. When individuals learn by doing, they are more likely to take on new tasks, apply their skills successfully, and develop into a better version of themselves over time.

With business executives and hiring managers seeking employees that already possess these skills, it is important for colleges and universities to help graduates become career-ready. Bongo is a video assessment platform that lets instructors create real-world scenarios where learners develop these cross-cutting skills. Visit our website to learn more about Bongo.

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