Career and Professional Readiness: Life Skills That Contribute to Successful Careers
Today, it’s not enough to be fully qualified with requisite skills and talents, to be successful in your career, or in life. Emotional intelligence combined with specific subject matter expertise is definitely, the key to success. Studies of today’s most successful leaders acknowledge that intelligence, business savvy and functional expertise are requirements, but the most effective leaders display one crucial differentiator, emotional intelligence.
As an institute of higher education we pride ourselves on the academic rigor that prepares our students to be the entrepreneurial leaders of the future; whether they choose to work for a large or small firm, engage with a social impact venture, start their own business or return to their family business. In addition to their academics, our students grow and development as individuals, soon to be joining the ranks of working professionals and as such need to development the emotional intelligence necessary to navigate their chosen career paths.
As “career explorers” we want our students equipped with the tools to effectively manage this life transition. Emotional intelligence (self and social awareness) combined with insights into the impact of their behavior and decisions is critical. As you can imagine, these life lessons are not easily taught, but they are learned through life experiences. With that said, I’d like to share some life experiences that are challenging our students today.
The Center for Career Development partners with hundreds of employers and alumni to provide career opportunities for our students; job fairs, interviews, industry advisors, case workshops, company visits, etc. Through our career portal, Handshake, students RSVP to attend these events. Of late, we have experienced a very high “no show” factor at career related events; students respond that they plan to attend, and then do not show up or notify anyone that they will not be attending the event.
The following are real scenarios we see in CCD, which we work hard to turn into teachable moments for our students:
Professional Readiness Lesson #1– Making a positive first impression impacts you and others
When you do not show up or notify someone of your absence; it does not reflect well on you or your school. The employer/alumni may assume this is typical of Babson students and decide to no longer partner with Babson. The reputation of the student and the school is then impacted.
Professional Readiness Lesson #2- Consider the impact on your peers.
You apply to participate in an industry trek that will be visiting 4 companies in your targeted industry. There are limited spots on the trip. You received notification that you have been selected and the trip is next Friday. On Thursday night, you realize you will be out late with friends and getting up to be on the bus at 8:30 is rather early. You send an email stating that an emergency came up and you won’t be able to make it. When you change your mind in the last minute about attending an event, you are likely taking that spot away from another student.
Professional Readiness lesson #3- Understand the impact on your personal brand impact
You are scheduled for an interview at 9:00 on Monday. You received an email confirmation about this upcoming interview. Monday morning comes around and you decide you’re not that interested in this company, so you just don’t go. Your decision making has now impacted your own personal brand, CCD and Babson College.
Professional Readiness Lesson #4- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
You are graduating in May and have already secured a job after graduation. You interned at this company in the summer and they extended you an offer, which you have accepted. In January, another company posts a very interesting job and you apply (even though you accepted and already committed to another company). You interview and are subsequently offered a position and accept. You have not told anyone and email company #1 and renege on the offer. Although we hope that students will not renege, we understand and want to guide students through the process of professionally explaining their change in plans, being respectful to the company and the college.
We can all play a role in increasing the awareness of our students about the impact of their decisions and actions; understanding not only what is important to each of us individually, but also to others and the impact that our choices have on others. Simply stated, common courtesy and respect for others; treating others the way that you would like to be treated are the basic framework. I encourage you to share your own personal experiences and ask your student about his/hers, to prompt conversation and provide a learning opportunity.
First impressions are lasting impressions and can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important. So, whether they are in your career, professional or social life, it’s important to know how to create a positive first impression; be mindful, courteous and respectful, while making sure you are on time and appropriately prepared for your meeting/event. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”