In the business world, individuals must attempt to understand their unique gifts and contributions and use that understanding to effect change in their organizations. This process requires self-reflection and having the determination to follow one’s “passion, imagination, and vision.”
Study–Finish What You Start
For many, the path to success begins with formal education. Lessons learned in that process can be applied to the business environment as well. Succeeding in college requires:
*Doing due diligence and carefully selecting the right school and program.
*Properly finishing what is started. Even if a class or program is dropped, it should be dropped in accordance with established procedures.
*Trusting one’s instincts about continued education (i.e., graduate school versus joining the workforce).
*Learning to love the concept of studying (education does not stop at the school doors).
The following practices will help make the most of the formal education experience as preparation for a successful career:
*Tailor curriculum to the business sector one seeks to join.
*Create a written plan for managing both school and non-school commitments.
*Develop and maintain a good study environment.
*Know and use one’s best learning style (i.e., auditory, visual, kinesthetic).
*Ask questions and build relationships.
*Gain experience and volunteer.
Networking for Novices
Networking is a business fundamental, and it is all about showing an interest in others. Networking can occur both in-person and online. The college campus offers abundant opportunities for networking. It is as easy as striking up a conversation with the person in the next seat in a lecture hall. Lastly, networking is mutual; it is not about getting something but about helping one another.
Students can build their networking skills by:
*Leveraging friends and family as resources for new contacts.
*Tapping online resources like LinkedIn to identify potential new connections.
*Spending time meeting people at face-to-face events like conferences, workshops, and social activities.
*Not being deterred by nerves; feeling nervous about meeting new people is natural.
*Creating personal business cards.
*Being real; authenticity should be at the core of everyone’s behavior.
*Remembering that networking is not an opportunity to brag; it is an opportunity to listen and share.
A great networking first step is to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has become a highly regarded professional networking platform that regularly adds value for professionals, not only in terms of making connections that can further their career goals, but also in terms of idea and opinion sharing.
Some ways to make the most of the LinkedIn experience include:
*Posting a professional-looking photo.
*Creating a strong headline and summary statement (look at other profiles for examples).
*Maximizing experience, including volunteer and extra-curricular activities.
*Including education and related activities.
*Asking for endorsements from others (and endorsing them in return).
*Highlighting achievements, honors, and awards, but only if they apply to career goals.
*Getting recommendations from teachers, employers, and fellow students.
*Joining LinkedIn groups, companies, and influencers.
Creating a Résumé That Gets Read
A résumé is much more than a list of skills and achievements; it is a view into an individual’s personality. Revealing personality in a simple, meaningful, and engaging way is what will make an individual’s résumé stand out from the crowd. Some tips for creating a standout résumé include:
*Including a well-crafted cover letter that is job-specific, showcases personal achievements, matches key job requirements to personal qualities, and illustrates potential contributions.
*Listing all contact information.
*Syncing online profiles with the résumé; and keeping them professional.
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