In addition to your degree, what else do you bring to the table?
When I first started studying, I barely gave a hoot about anything other than graduating, landing my degree and finding a job. I mean, what else was there to it? But as I progressed I started to realise that my piece of paper was only going to get me so far, and the things that would actually open doors for me were less obvious.
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before – the ‘future of work’ is here now. Regardless of your industry our workplaces are going through HUGE shifts and how your parents worked 20 years ago is no longer.
While it’s all good and well to have the qualifications, employers want to see and hear how you are going to tangibly impact their business and bring value. We need to realise that most of us aren’t learning how to build on skills that we also need to land a job (enterprise skills) and it’s our own responsibility to work on these!
So what enterprise skills can you start to build on?
1 // Emotional Intelligence
“The ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”
When I was at university I probably paid 80% attention to how other people were feeling in my class or group assignment; not because I didn’t care but because my main priority at that time, was myself.
However, when you’re applying for jobs and sitting in front of a future employer, they want to see that in a work setting you have the ability to be mindful of your colleagues feelings and your behaviour.
What are some traits of EI that you can work on?
> Good listening
> Not over-reacting to setbacks
> Positively motivating others
> Rational thinking
2 // Communication
“Information exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviour.”
Okay. I’ll admit it – studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications definitely gave me a leg-up in this department …
However, it’s one thing to be proficient at writing assignments and speaking in front of 17 – 24year olds, and a whole other to be comfortable when you’re thrown into a networking event, corresponding with a client/booss/colleague via email or giving a presentation to a room full of professionals.
I’m not trying to scare you – the above scenarios will 100% happen within your first 3 months of your job!
How you can work on your communication skills:
> Practice being assertive BUT polite when you need something
> Establish a network, grow it and use it!
> Practice active listening
> Be aware of the audience to the message you’re sending
3 // Teamwork
“The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.”
*Sigh* Yes. I know. We ALL hate group assignments. What makes me sad is that unfortunately for most of us – this is the only practical example we have of teamwork – and it’s mainly negative.
Teamwork in the workplace mimics university in some aspects and is completely different in others.
a) There will be times where you work on a team that is not made up of only in your department. For example, you may have Ella from Accounting, Chris from Development, Brett from PR and Lucy from Management.
All of these individuals need to approach the task with an open-mind to opinions, respect for skills AND use emotional intelligence to be team players.
b) Yes, there is the possibility that people in your team will slack off. Not everyone has the same work ethic or work STYLE, the challenge – like with all teamwork – is to create a plan and have a structure that caters for all.
All of these individuals need to keep the goal of the task in mind as this is the most important factor – not berating Chris because he’s an hour late on his report.
c) There are more people relying on you outside of your team and your lecturer. Think: a whole business!
How you can work on your teamwork skills:
> Build on your emotional intelligence skills (these go hand in hand)!
> Be proactive about tasks
> Limit the amount of time you spend procrastinating on your own tasks to better prep yourself for team tasks
> Practice being open-minded
While it’s stressful studying, working part-time and generally just enjoying your LIFE … you can make things a lot easier for yourself when you graduate by working on additional skills that are going to land you your dream job, now.
I’ve covered three enterprise skills in this article but there are HEAPS more that you can be building on while you’re at university.
>> If you live in Brisbane, at genYOU Inspire next week our industry speakers will be talking to you about enterprise skills – I highly recommend you join us for what is set to be another epic session!
>> If you haven’t joined genYOU Digital, our topic for June is on collaboration – which is a key enterprise skill you will need in your future workplace!