5 Career Skills They Don’t Teach You in College

career skills, career advice, job skills

You did it! You worked hard, studied all hours of the night, completed the required coursework, and received your shiny new diploma. And now you need WHAT career skills?

Even with how far universities have come, the typical bachelor’s degree does not come complete with courses on getting a raise, dealing with the ups and downs of balancing work and life, knowing when to pursue new opportunities, or managing a team of monkeys (what it can often feel like).

Knowing what to expect in the workplace and what real-world skills you’ll need to succeed will help you sort through the madness as you grow in your career. Here are five out-of-the-box career skills that they don’t teach you in college.

1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Dream Job”

No job is perfect. There are going to be high and lows and things you don’t like about your job whether you’re just out of college or 30 years into your career. But that doesn’t mean you can’t love your job.

Learning to make the most out of any job role you are in is a must-have career skill.

Figure out what matters most to you in a career and focus on the positive. What do you imagine as the perfect job (does your company offer this position)? What do you like about your current job (does your company offer multiple growth opportunities)? What would you do all day if money wasn’t a factor (is there any relation to your current role)? Many times people find out that their company offers much more than they had realized.

Most importantly, work every day with a sense of direction. “Today I am going to get _____ accomplished.” Constantly work towards a more loveable career path. That could mean taking on different types of projects at work or learning a new skill off-hours.

Knowing where you are and where you want to go in your career will help to make each day meaningful. And always remember, don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. 85% of Career Growth Is Based On ‘Human Engineering’

…Not technical intelligence. “Human engineering: your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead.”

Consistent improvement of your emotional and moral intelligence is an important part of your career skill repertoire.

Four main components of these skills include: integrity in your daily work, empathy for co-workers, a constant hunger to learn, and an unrelenting work-ethic.

Competition in the work place can be fierce. People often cut corners to get ahead, but end up falling short in the long run. The ability to always do what is right for the people around you and for your company is a skill many never learn.

Hard work and integrity will always prevail. If you find that you are lacking technical skills in a certain area, work hard to learn them and keep your eye out for the next skill to master. In other words, stay one step ahead.

3. Internal Optimism Takes Practice

The Shirelles song, “Mama said there’ll be days like this” still holds true today. You will undoubtedly come across a few (or more) rough patches in your career, but you must work to keep your glass half-full.

Staying internally optimistic is key for long-term career success.

Remember these three tips when you’re feeling down:

– Refuse to Ruminate: Rumination means going over and over the same thing and dwelling on it. It doesn’t go anywhere, and it just makes you feel worse.

– Think About Why You’re Here and Where You’re Going: No job is permanent, but often you’ll need a few years of experience to move on to something else. Keep your goals in mind and focus on how you will achieve them, starting today.

– You Are in Charge of Your Own Self-Worth & Happiness: Many times, people are dissatisfied with their jobs due to a lack of recognition from their managers. Don’t let others determine your career success. Set personal and business goals, work to achieve them, and let that success guide your happiness. One day, you’ll make it to manager and remember to thank your employees!

4. You’ll Eventually Hit a Quarter-Life Crisis

At some point in your career (usually mid-to-late twenties) you will wonder what you’re doing. You’ll ask yourself why you aren’t traveling the world, pursuing your master’s degree, living somewhere fun like The Big Apple, or following your passions.

Listening to your heart and breaking out of your comfort zone takes bravery, heart, and skill.

The number one thing I hear when I talk to people in their 50’s and 60’s – “I wish I would have done something while I was young.”

By “done something” they mean traveling, moving to a new city, trying a new job, pursuing a master’s degree, starting a business… chasing their dreams.

There is no better time than now to try something new to find out if you love or hate it. The best part about being young is that you’ll always land back on your feet. Do it now before you are responsible for kids and a mortgage.

5. Your Career is a Long & Winding Road

It may feel as though if you’re not in a job you love today, then you may never be, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Deciding what career moves to make throughout your life takes patience and careful consideration.

Making a smart career move doesn’t always mean taking the first one that comes along or the one that offers the most money. Take your time, talk to friends, family, and mentors, and decide if it is really the right move.

Each new career you pursue takes you either one step closer to or one step further from your personal & career goals. You will make wrong moves, it’s part of life, but it’s never too late to correct those mistakes and get back on track.

Your career will zig and zag and so will your income. Just keep your end goal in mind and remind yourself why you set it in the first place.

Here’s to your future!


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