In the Korean American community, a lot of energy is placed on students attending highly ranked colleges. While obtaining an undergraduate degree from a highly ranked college can have advantages, a student’s career success in America depends more on the student acquiring and applying critical skills. In fact, only one CEO from the 10 largest U.S. companies obtained their undergraduate degree from an Ivy-League college.
Based on my experiences having been born and raised in the U.S., along with my eight years coaching hundreds of college and high school students to obtain corporate internships, jobs, and university admissions, I present six skills that are critical for students to develop for a successful future:
Almost all employers require applicants to have strong communication skills. This includes expressing oneself clearly both in speech and in writing. One common problem that I encounter when speaking with students is how often they use filler words, such as “like,” “um,” “you know,” and “I mean.” Using such filler words often makes a student sound less professional and creates a bad impression. A student should pause instead of using such filler words. Writing well is another key skill that many students can improve on. There are many free and low-cost online courses that students can take to improve writing more clearly and concisely.
- Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a critical skill for success in many industries. Individuals with strong attention to detail can catch mistakes and ensure that work is completed to a high standard. Lack of attention to detail can very quickly derail a student’s career, as this causes others to lose trust in the student’s ability to properly complete a task. A student should build their attention to detail skills by consistently checking that their submitted assignments have no misspellings or other careless mistakes.
Reliability is another key attribute that can build or destroy trust with colleagues and supervisors. Reliable individuals show up to work on time, complete their tasks on schedule, and follow through on commitments. They are also accountable for their actions and take responsibility for mistakes.
- Problem Solving
Problem solving involves the ability to identify, analyze, and resolve complex problems. Individuals with strong problem-solving skills are able to think creatively, consider multiple solutions, and make decisions that lead to successful outcomes. Many employers seek strong problem solvers who can find solutions even when the solutions are not obvious.
Individuals with strong persistence skills are able to keep going even when faced with difficulties. I believe that this skill essential for career success as every individual encounter significant roadblocks and setbacks at some point in their career.
- Building a Network
Building and maintaining a strong network is also very important for career success. A lot of future opportunities result from an individual’s network. Building a network means developing positive relationships with colleagues, supervisors, clients, and other professionals in one’s field. As building a strong network takes time, students should focus on building a large and diverse network as soon as possible.
Parents can help their children by first informing them about the importance of these skills. Students can also develop these skills by further studying about these skills, as well as taking on positions of responsibility through extracurricular clubs or part-time work. Constant development and execution of these skills will set a student apart from the rest and pave the way for a successful career.
LA Career Coaching