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Archive for January 21st, 2007

One of the goals of going to college is to learn… but yet there is so much that isn’t taught. I came across this great list of Things I Wish I Had Learned in College,

  1. Getting to the Point – Most of the term papers I
    did in college were long and had minimal requirements. The last thing
    my boss wants to read is a 10 page report that could have been one
    paragraph long. Professors need to teach students to get to the point
    and not push for lengthy essays.
  2. Making Proper Presentations
    – I have made a lot of presentations in college, but the professors did
    not show me how to successfully communicate my ideas. Having cheesy
    designed slides may have worked well in college, but in the corporate
    world simple, effective designs are preferred. Now I have learned that
    slides with less text and larger font sizes are much more effective
    then slides with lots of text and small font sizes.
  3. Working on a Team
    – Most of my college career was made up of reading, studying, test
    taking and paper writing. Most of which I did alone. I was graded on
    how well I performed, not on how well I performed on a team. But now,
    my boss wants to see how well I can cooperate with my co-workers, how
    well, WE can complete projects. So, being diplomatic and being open
    minded to team-member’s ideas has become second-practice. It’s
    important to understand that every member of a team brings their own
    skill set and perspective to a project.
  4. Writing a Resume
    – It seems like one of the biggest college and post college misnomers
    concerns “writing a resume.” College seminars that help students
    prepare for the great “job hunt,” should teach students how to create a
    basic resume template and then custom tailor it to fit specific job
    requirements. I’ve found that resumes that address the specific skills
    associated with job or company work best. Research the company you are
    interested in working for. Try to find how your interests, skills or
    knowledge directly applies to that company and that position. Then sell
    it on one page. There is no reason you can’t have more that one resume.
  5. Interviewing
    – I spent some ample time in college talking to my professors in an
    attempt to highlight my value in class, but dropping knowledge to a
    professor in order to increase my grade and proving that I am the best
    candidate for a job are two very different things. First off, be
    prepared to be judged, by how you are dressed, how well you answer
    questions and in “stress interviews” where there are multiple people
    interviewing you at once, on how well you keep your cool. Again,
    research the company before you go on your interview, go ahead and
    Google the name of the person who is interviewing you, find out as much
    as you can before you step into that room. I’ve also found it helpful
    to take about an hour the day before the interview and imagine what
    questions you might be asked and how you would respond to them. This
    gets your brain working in the right direction.
  6. Networking
    – Social life in college seemed to revolve around partying. I looked
    for opportunities to meet new people but not necessarily people who had
    like interests and career goals. Now I understand that friendship is
    the first step to networking. Having a base of friends with similar
    interests doesn’t only lead to interesting conversion it can lead to
    job opportunities. Building a social network online, through alumni
    groups or industry associations can lead to career growth. Not to
    mention, being friendly and social is a great way to communicate with
    your co-workers and has been directly correlated reaching the coveted
    “Top Executive” position.
  7. Accountability
    – If I did not feel like getting out of bed to go to class, I just
    skipped. I didn’t need to inform anyone why I didn’t attend. In my job,
    if I were to feel sick and not show up, I would be out of a job
    quickly. Also, it is important to communicate with supervisor regarding
    the status of assigned projects. Since others depend upon me, I can no
    longer do everything last minute like at college.
  8. Money Management
    – In school my parents footed the bill, so I never really worried about
    saving money, balancing my checkbook or overextending my credit card.
    If I got in a pinch, I always had a back up plan—calling home. Since I
    am now on my own, everyday expenses like eating lunches out add up. I
    have found that budgeting and saving is critical, and investing wisely
    is crucial to my financial future.
  9. Taking the Initiative
    – I remember doing only what I needed to do to get by when I was in
    college. It was easy doing only what my professors required of me, and
    often, most students never learned to think for themselves. My boss now
    expects me to come up with ideas and unique solutions to problems, not
    just “meeting the minimum standard.”
  10. Strategic Planning
    – Though I learned study skills in college, I never had a clear plan or
    strategy for what I was doing or where I was going, other than
    completing my courses. In the business world, every outcome is
    measured, every result analyzed. I have learned to formulate strategic
    plans to accomplish my objectives so that I am more focused and
    productive.
  11. Dressing for Success – Rolling
    out of bed and slipping into something comfortable doesn’t really cut
    it in the world of work. As the saying goes, “Look the Part.” As an
    emerging MBA graduate, it’s important for me to look professional, to
    wear a shirt and tie, shoes that aren’t sneakers. Most companies have a
    dress-code, and a lot have casual Fridays, make the most of these
    guidelines, but try to go above and beyond and if you are into fashion,
    there is no reason you can’t accessorize.
  12. Negotiating a Raise
    – In the real world, my salary is tied to my productivity. If my
    efforts are continually generating revenues or tangible benefits for
    the company I work for, my boss should reward my efforts accordingly.
    In all the college business classes I took, the subject was never
    breached. This knowledge would have saved me a lot of embarrassment.
    Also, it would have resulted in a healthier raise and higher perceived
    value to the company I work for.
  13. Writing a Letter of Resignation
    – Almost every year in college I had a part-time job. If I did not like
    it, I just quit and moved on. In the real world if I were to do that,
    my resume and references would be ruined. A resignation letter is not
    an excuse to criticize a company, no matter how bad it is. Instead, one
    that is professionally done can preserve a good reference, or open
    doors for new prospects.

One of the main
purposes of college is to prepare you for the real world. My personal
experience is that what you learn in college does not necessarily
prepare you for the future. I hope that the above list provides you
with some insights whether you are beginning your college adventures or
are about to enter the real world.

The most important thing I’ve learned in college is the need to graduate!

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