College graduates are not feeling prepared for careers in business, and employers are feeling less than confident in the skills that interviewees offer. I want to share the 3 golden nuggets of knowledge that helped me to build a career that is continually evolving.
Though my time in formal business school was short, I quickly recognized that the basic offerings of Business 101 or Intro to Business were not enough to build a career from. Not to mention getting a “B+” in Micro and Macro didn’t leave me feeling confident in my abilities in the corporate world. There were three skills I’ve acquired that I feel truly prepared me for the “real world.”
1. Look every person in the eyes: Yes, every person. Janitor, CEO, receptionist, owner, client, barista. Every job title is worthy of your eye contact. This skill was taught to me by my mother, and engrained at a young age. This skill will show your superiors that you are confident, your subordinates that you respect and value them, and your peers that you are a team player.
2. Please and thank you: It should go without saying, but many people do not consider the tone of their communications. My business mentor is persistent, often sending my emails back to me with corrections (which initially included “please” and “thank you” until I caught on) in red. I am so thankful for those reminders. We’ve all experienced the difference between “change it and send it to me” and “can you please change it and send it to me? thanks!” Simply adding these words to all communications gives you a magnetic professionalism.
3. Fake it until you make it… And then rise to the occasion: If a task is offered up that is slightly above your current skill set, JUMP at the opportunity. This could be a job posting or a task delegation in your company’s Monday meeting. The hard part comes next. You must actually learn how to do that job or task. Ask for mentorship from a veteran of this role, commit yourself to researching the process online, and then wow everyone including yourself as you rise to the occasion.
These are 3 skills that helped me across the board in my career, and (in my humble opinion) should probably be taught in a mandatory course to all freshman. Are there other skills for which you felt college didn’t prepare you?