Isn’t it funny how we study and work so hard thinking that when we graduate we’ll immediately be rewarded with our dream career? Don’t get me wrong it is definitely out there. However, reality will tell you that your career is not served on a silver platter.
We live in an increasingly competitive job market. Companies are looking for graduates (and young professionals) who have the right career skills and not just book knowledge. Yes, I know. Your degree has probably cost you a lot of energy and maybe even blood, sweat and tears (I know mine did). However, I soon came to realise that in order to succeed at work you need to develop your career skills. And some of these skills you’ll probably only learn from the school of life.
Whether you’re about to graduate or a bit more advanced in your career, these are just a few of the many things you’ll wish you learned at Uni!
Networking with purpose
Networking is the ‘new’ thing and has become one of the most important things when it comes to building a career. Not only is it crucial in terms of your career, it can serve you well on personal aspects. Networking is more than meeting new people; it’s about building your network with a purpose. Connecting with others to inspire, serve and help one another professionally (whether for the present or future).
So when pursuing a new career the progress of your job search primarily depends on who you have in your inner circle. You’ll find out that besides the big ‘job hunt’, you might need to put yourself on the market.
However, before you present yourself to the business world, make sure your personal or business sales pitch is on ‘fleek’. Ask yourself ‘why are you the perfect fit for the role?’ And why is your idea the solution to a specific need in the market? Note that you can’t make anyone believe in something if you don’t believe it yourself.
If you’re a natural talent when it comes to managing your time this will not be a big deal for you. However, if you’re the type of person who waits till the very last minute to get things done, keep on reading!
Time management is probably one of the most important career skills you need to develop. In order to be productive, you’ll need to manage your time strategically. This starts with setting priorities. In case, you thought that ‘student life’ doesn’t give you enough free time, well… wait till you start working. One of the major things you might get away with while studying, but not in your career is procrastination, especially when your job requires you to meet tight deadlines.
There are many great tools that can help you prioritise your activities and manage your time more effectively. One of my favourite tools is the ‘Time Management Grid’ by Stephen Covey. This grid is organised based on ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’ and it teaches you to section your current to-do-list in the following 4 quadrants:
Having a clear overview of the activities that take high priority, the things that are less important can serve as something you do on a break.
There is nothing more important than having healthy and successful relationships also when it comes to your career. Your full-time job requires you to work from Mondays to Fridays, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Yes, you will be spending most of your precious time with your colleagues.
Building good work relationships is, therefore, crucial. Your relationship with your colleagues will play a huge part in your overall happiness and success within the workplace. At University, it is easy to avoid people you don’t see eye to eye with. However, when it comes to your career, you would have to learn how to effectively manage and deal with conflicts. How to communicate and relate to people from different backgrounds and how to handle ‘challenging personalities’ in the office.
The good thing is, you don’t have to wait till you start working on your career skills. Work on them today!