Career Guidance for Graduates
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and Soft Skills Center Success Triangle
Common Sense Interview
Stuff The Ladders Understanding Salaries
Fab Five of Student Jobs
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Road to Success Considering Trade School
Future Skills Requirements
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My Next Move helps find a
Mark Cuban Q&A
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Importance of Grades
1) Hard and Soft Skills facilitate Career Success.
"The capacity to learn is a
gift, the ability to learn
is a skill and the willing to learn is a choice."
Two B's or an A and a C
Which is better?
Technical Skill to Enhance the Liberal Arts
you study/do determines skill levels associated with success.
College Isn't A Guarantee To The Middle Class. See
4) Do what you like because our "Flat World"
means a lot of competition
which means more effort is needed to
5) Most jobs are in health care, education,
STEM areas and retail sales/service.
6) Studies show most careers can be
enhanced by digital knowledge. Start by
by adding one useable software or Apps task per
month to be done with your computer and phone.
7) Substantial efforts toward
ability may not be
a) Data indicates comprehensive test coaching has only a small
effect on scores.
b) Anxiety they cause can be a serious problem.
The Problem of Early Acceptance
Choosing a College and Major
attending a college you are not academically
prepared for hinders success.
Found to Boost Scores--Barely
testing help at
Prep Internet Library
8) Going to a school where you are
near the top academically usually a good
idea for three reasons. Grants
will be higher, time will be available to
enhance non-academic soft skills and
professors favor their best students.
9) Traditional and social networking and good mentoring are still very important for success.
10) Data that college is not a good investment has
many even well off students
attending local Community College though college
loans were up 5% in 2015.
Fareed Zakaria defense of a liberal education is reasonable but
remember that very strong academic ability and other outstanding traits
are required to earn a "reasonable" academic degree and economic return. The
majority of liberal majors do not have these abilities and even if they
did, there are few good paying jobs. So studying art or music
or psychology is fine but when you can expect a low salary.
Why Internships Are More Important Than Ever
4 Quick Rules for Life
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Hard skills include the specific knowledge
and abilities required for a job.
They are acquired through formal education and training
programs, including college, apprenticeships, short-term training classes,
online courses, certification programs, as well as by on-the-job training. Examples of hard skills include computer
programming, web design, typing, accounting, finance, writing, mathematics,
legal and other quantifiable skills that are included in the requirements for a
Bill Gates writes often about the
importance of measurement when pursuing goals. Skills are easier to measure
than behaviors. Behaviors can be hard to define, and often manifest in the
things you don’t do.
Sometimes chase and reward the wrong traits. Google learned this when it
eventually devalued SAT scores for job applicants, realizing it had little
predictive signal of a hire’s subsequent career success.
For more examples see
Soft Skills: Success May Depend on Them
10 Hard to Learn
Skills are Necessary for Success! 20 min video
10 Promotion Skills
Source: Harvard Business Review
Noncognitive skills like cognitive skills
improving labor-market outcomes. These non-cognitive skills (called
soft skills, social, behavioral skills) include
perseverance, conscientiousness, and self-control, social skills and
leadership . Evidence suggests that the labor-market payoffs to
non-cognitive skills have been increasing over time and the payoffs are
particularly strong for individuals who possess both cognitive and
Seven Facts on Noncognitive Skills
from Education to the Labor Market
Much is to be gained by spending a lot of time improving what you do well
and nurturing these soft skills. Example work hard and your major and if
being in the school senate means slightly lower grades in secondary
subjects, so be it. See Which is better,
2 B's or an A and a C?
John Wooden Success Triangle
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Value of Emotional Intelligence
1. Communication is everything
If you learn how to effectively command a room, think on your feet,
articulate yourself exceptionally and present your ideas in a way which
others can digest, understand and feel inspired by, you will be a force to
be reckoned with. If you do not, you may very well find yourself frequently
‘out-shone' by people who have mastered this skill.
2. Listen, before you speak
It is often in our nature to talk out of turn or readily project our
opinions onto others. However, it is an extremely valuable and necessary
skill to develop a habit of pro-active listening. Make a point of being an
active listener, consider and digest information before you respond and
treat conversations as a constantly evolving learning practice because, that
is exactly what they are.
3. Your success is entirely up to you
In your twenties, you will quickly learn that no one owes you anything. Your
family, friends and colleagues will look out for you and support you, but
ultimately it is up to you now to pave your own way. The level of reward you
experience directly correlates to the level of effort and work you invest.
Low effort = low reward and vice versa.
4. On that note, the path to success is not short
Don't assume your career path will be an overnight success story. When it
comes to success, both professionally and personally, you will likely endure
a number of learning curves before you hit your stride. As such, your
habits, work ethic, mindset and gumption truly matter. View your goals as a
long-term, evolving destination and commit yourself to the individual, daily
tasks and practices which will nudge you closer to that destination. Success
is a marathon, not a sprint and remember that there are no small plans.
5. Being present takes a conscious effort
Try to remember the importance of grounding yourself in the present moment
when you can. Take the time to examine your mindset, meditate, reflect or
whatever you need to do to quiet the rest of the noise in your mind and
focus on the present, entirely. This takes a conscious effort, but is
continuously important in a world where we are constantly plugged in and
6. Never think you have it all figured out, because you don't
If you ever think you know all there is to know about something, you're
wrong. In order to grow, adapt to changing environments/demands and stay
ahead of the rest of the group, you have to always be hungry for new
information. You have to always be learning. Read, ask questions, consider
other answers, debate topics, admit when you're wrong and surround yourself
with people who are equally passionate and curious, as they will help propel
you forward. Your University degree won't define you, your desire to learn
and continue learning will. Remember this or you could be left behind.
Relationships with close friends may change during your 20s. rawpixel.com/Unsplash
7. The dynamics of your friendships will change
As we get older, friendships become a little less convenient. Most of us
work or study full-time, move around, develop important daily demands and
shift into different stages of our lives. During this time, the company we
keep is the company we make a conscious effort to keep. Don't view this as a
negative change, but instead learn to invest in the people who invest in
you. Understand the difference between a friend who is fun to grab a drink
with occasionally, and someone who you would call if you were in trouble.
8. Kindness matters
No matter what, remind yourself to be kind. Try to be self-aware enough to
check yourself and admit the moments when you're being a jerk. When you have
the opportunity to improve someone else's day, even in the smallest way, you
should act upon it. Maintain your manners, hold the door open, smile readily
and put basic kindness into practice whenever you can. The more positive
energy you put out into the world, the more you can expect to get back.
9. Don't take people for granted
At the end of the day, the people we love are the reason all the hard, messy
stuff we work through is so worth it. Relationships and connection are
everything. Don't ever take this for granted. Love, be loved and be
eternally, openly grateful for the connections you keep.
10. You have to take responsibility
It is so easy to conjure up excuses for the mistakes or bad judgments we
make, but ultimately, we have to take responsibility for ourselves. If you
screw up, take ownership of it. That, in itself, is admirable (although not
easy). The more you commit yourself to the ownership of your actions and
choices, the more likely you are to prioritize them and make careful,
11. Stop saying "later"
Seriously, procrastination is a quiet killer. Do you really want to start
each day with something hanging over your head from the previous day? The
time is now, act accordingly.
12. Stay true to what moves you
There is no sense working a job which makes you too tired to go home and
live the life you are working to live. You shouldn't spend your hours
counting down the hours on a clock in an office, just
to feel that there aren't enough hours remaining for everything else.
We have to be practical, yes, but that shouldn't mean sacrificing personal
fulfillment. If you stay true to what move and excites you, you should have
the motivation to become a master of your craft and live a life which grants
you stability as well as passion and internal reward.
13. Don't obsess over the past
Don't cheat on the present by remaining stuck on the past. Keep moving
Take time to exercise and focus on your health. Poodar
14. Make your health a priority
Take care of yourself, body and soul. Eat well (food is fuel, seriously),
laugh often, sweat every day, get enough sleep, limit harmful habits, give
yourself a day off when you need it and treat your body as the critical
vessel that it is.
15. Look up
Get your head out of your phone, your laptop and away from the TV. We live
in a digital age, which means we really need to work to ensure it doesn't
consume all of our attention. When you're with someone, focus on them and
keep the phone out of sight. When you have a free night, consider reading
instead of a Netflix binge. If you need to talk to someone, consider meeting
up with them instead of messaging them via text or email. Give yourself an
hour of screen-free time before bed. These are little things we can do to
un-plug ourselves from the technology we so firmly attach ourselves to.
16. Dating culture exists, but you decide what you accept
When it comes to dating, especially in your twenties, it's easy to feel like
you are swimming an upstream battle. While we are often painfully aware of
the dating cultures which exist and feel their effect, we decide whether or
not we accept them as a rule to which we need to abide. If you aren't
comfortable with a situation, you can remove yourself from it. Don't abandon
your values and intentions to suit someone else's. You can't expect to find
what (or whom) you want if you're constantly betraying your own desires,
after all. Always remain open, remain confident and remain honest with
yourself and your heart.
17. Learn to forgive
There is no sense in continuously investing precious energy into malicious
emotions and engagements. Of course, we will find ourselves angry or hurt at
times and we have the right to feel the levity of those emotions when they
come, but it is absolutely crucial to learn how to acknowledge those
feelings and then let them go. Forgive yourself, forgive others, understand
when someone or something is introducing negative energy into your life and
forgive that too, but let it go as you do. Leave it and your anger behind
you. Unburden yourself so you can remain open to alternative experiences as
you move forward. If you don't, you will define your future based on your
inability to forgive and forget the wrong-doings of the past.
18. Your time is valuable
If you ask me, time is our most precious commodity. We are a busy breed,
generally speaking, so the time we invest is meaningful and holds a distinct
purpose and intention. Value your time and engage with people who value and
respect your time, not those who waste it or take it for granted.
19. Travel when you can
"We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the tonic
to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in
our minds has changed and that changes everything."
20. Let yourself be scared, but also be organized
The best things in life are often the ones that scare you the most. When we
are in our twenties, we have to give ourselves the freedom to take risks,
some of which will scare the living crap out of us. That fear, those nerves,
those are okay. They are human. But, while we should embrace the madness
that comes with transitioning into adulthood and sorting out our passions
and future, we must maintain a method to the madness, too. To do this, make
a habit of setting your intentions and having mental check-in's with
yourself. Write your to-do lists in the morning, schedule your time, stay on
track to the big picture on a daily basis but grant yourself permission to
take a few leaps of faith, risks or breaths where necessary. We can't
control everything, we can only be well prepared.
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Being negative all the time
Repeatedly responding to suggestions with a pessimistic or contrary attitude
can be construed as being uncooperative, Randall says. Phrases like "That
won't work," "That sounds too hard," or, "I wouldn't know how to start,"
should be avoided.
Similarly, complaining too much puts you in a bad light.
"While there may be times when everyone feels the desire to complain about
the boss, a coworker, or a task, voicing it will only make you look
unprofessional," Randall says. "It's even worse if you complain every day,
all day, from the moment you walk into work. Before long, people will go out
of their way to avoid you."
"There's nothing as energy-draining as having to deal with a pessimistic
coworker," Rosemary Haefner, chief human-resources officer for CareerBuilder,
tells Business Insider. "Things do go wrong, but even when they do, focus
your energy towards what you've learned from a bad situation."
She points to a
recent CareerBuilder survey, which shows that a majority of employers —
62% — say they are less likely to promote employees who have a negative or
Soliciting signatures, volunteers, or donations
Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
"Before you go cubicle to cubicle enlightening your coworkers about your
cause, read the company policies and procedures manual. Most companies
discourage or forbid promoting personal causes, especially on company time
because it's deemed disruptive," Randall says.
Being on Facebook all the time
Even if you're not writing anything offensive, being on Facebook every time
your boss walks by looks really bad, Oliver says. Unless it's work-related,
many companies frown on using social media during work time, and especially
using work equipment.
Playing '20 Questions' on every new assignment
There may be no stupid questions, Oliver says, but there are
certainly annoying questions. These are the kinds of questions that prove
you really don't want to do the assignment or illustrate you only want to
hear yourself talk.
"When you receive a new assignment, gather your questions, and pose them in
an organized way," Oliver suggests. "Never just spout out question after
question off the cuff."
Practicing poor hygiene and grooming
You want to look like you take your job seriously when you walk into work,
and your hygiene and appearance play a role in that.
"Poor hygiene and sloppy clothes scream, 'I don't care!' and are a surefire
way to put off those around you," Randall says.
Your boss may wonder whether your attitude about how you present yourself
extends to your work, she explains, and you may be passed over for a
promotion, overlooked when it's time to meet with a client or represent the
company at a conference, and not invited to social gatherings.
Being a slob
"Whether you're at your desk or in the break room, being known as the office
slob is never a compliment," says Randall.
When you clog the office kitchen sink and leave your garbage around, who
exactly are you expecting to clean up after you?
"Leaving your mess behind shows lack of responsibility or consideration,
arrogance, and immaturity," Randall says.
Similarly, your workspace can be a reflection of you, she says.
"If you're like me, who works well in a semi-messy environment, it can be
inhibiting to be clutter-free. But with open cubicles or workspaces, the
professional thing to do is to make some compromises," Randall says. "It
would be disrespectful and inconsiderate to expect your coworkers to deal
with your mess."
According to Haefner, employees who don't clean up after themselves can hurt
their chances for a promotion in the eyes of 36%
Calling in sick when you aren't
"Remember the adage that half of life is showing up," Oliver says.
You won't prove you deserve the promotion if you call in sick every few
seems like almost every office has one or two people who sell cookies for
their kids. But Randall says that some companies prohibit soliciting at work
because it takes up work time and places people in an awkward position.
Breaking the rules could be grounds for firing.
Being distracted during meetings
"There is a reason why texting is illegal while driving: It's impossible to
concentrate fully on two things simultaneously," Oliver says.
Texting, surfing the web on your laptop, instant messaging, emailing — doing
any of these things during a meeting shows everyone else in the meeting,
especially your boss, that you're not paying attention.
"They know that while your butt may be planted in the chair, your mind is
roaming," Oliver says.
Making personal calls all day long
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Talking or texting with friends or family on company time is unprofessional
and could be against company policy, Randall says. What's more, doing it
during a break is fine, but these correspondences should be kept out of the
workplace, even the lunch room.
"You never know when your boss may walk by for an impromptu chat," she says.
"What will they see or hear?"
"If the topic of conversation is of a delicate nature, be sure to keep it
private. One overheard juicy tidbit can spread like wildfire," Randall says.
Being overtly cliquey
"Maybe the new guy who smells like French Onion Soup is not your favorite
person on staff," Oliver says. "That's no reason to flee him every time he
asks you for help on an assignment." Nor should you be spreading gossip
about him, Haefner says.
It's best to act friendly toward everyone, Oliver explains: "You will come
across as more of a team player and show you have management aptitude."
And according to Haefner, nearly
half of the employers CareerBuilder surveyed say they would think twice
before moving an employee who participates in office gossip up the ranks.
"Take care that any criticism you make about someone's performance is deemed
to be constructive, measured, and deserved," Oliver suggests. Not keeping
the discourse civil could cost you your job.
"There is a line between curiosity and nosiness, which you don't want to
cross," Oliver says. Curiosity, she explains, is when you ask who the new
hire is. Nosiness, on the other hand, is when you rifle through your boss's
files to see how much the woman three cubicles down earns.
Raiding the supply closet
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Taking home a yellow pad of paper and a few pens if you're going to be
working from home all weekend is acceptable behavior. But when you raid the
supply closet and stash pads of paper, flash drives, notebooks, and folders,
you're essentially stealing money from the company, Oliver says.
"Ask yourself if you are really using it for work. If not, leave it be," she
The same rule applies for using the phones to make long distance personal
calls and using the Xerox machine to make copies of your great American
Drinking on the job
Kiyoshi Ota / Stringer / Getty Images
Some employers stock beer in the fridge and host weekly happy hours. Others
do not. If you work for the latter kind of company, drinking on the job is
an easy way to get yourself fired. In fact, a
survey by The Ladders of managers who have terminated employees for
office etiquette offenses found that 35% of bosses surveyed have fired
people for boozing at work.
Even if social drinking is part of a company's work culture, it's still not
a good idea to drink at work so frequently that you become labeled the
office drunk. This rule of thumb also extends outside the office at company
gatherings and happy hours.
Looking for another job while you're at work
Just like being on Facebook or making personal phone calls all day are
inadvisable, it's especially poor form to spend company time on your job
hunt. You might as well ask your boss to fire you now.
Even mentioning your job search to coworkers could pose a serious problem.
They may share, intentionally or not, that you're looking for another job,
"which could explain your lack of productivity and absences, resulting in a
poor reference or an invitation to pick up your paycheck earlier than you
expected," Randall says.