As the academic year draws to a close at many colleges and universities, seniors are participating in their commencement ceremonies. I can’t help but think about all of the new professionals who will be setting out to begin their careers in the weeks and months to come. After nearly ten years working in Higher Education, I remember these days well. The feelings of excitement, relief, fear and anxiety for all that comes after graduation is palpable on campus.
Just a few weeks ago, I received an invitation to my 10-year undergraduate college reunion. I found myself caught off guard; has it really been 10 years? I have done and learned so much and yet I remember what it felt like to be a new professional like it was yesterday.
Recently, Joseph and I had the opportunity to sit down with a college senior who was seeking to learn more about the world of leadership consulting and the work of Leadership Vision. Like many young people we meet, she was anxious for advice on how to position herself for success in the coming months and years. I left the conversation feeling inspired and grateful for these last 10 years.
Here are three things that we shared with her about how to set herself up for a career of success.
Know your Strengths
There is no better time to get intimately acquainted with who you are and what makes you tick. As you begin the process of interviewing for jobs, the ability to articulate your strengths and your uniqueness will set you apart. Many organizations across the globe are leveraging the StrengthsFinder tool. Being well acquainted with the language has the potential to give you an advantage over other candidates.
At Leadership Vision, we work with teams across the spectrum of ages, life and professional experiences. We almost always hear our seasoned professional clients say they wish they had this tool and this knowledge much earlier in their lives and in their careers. They would have spent less time questioning what they believed to be true about themselves, and more time having empowered conversations about what would drive their success.
Be Informed and Empowered
Not only does learning more about your strengths give you a better understanding of yourself, it also helps you understand the environment for which you will thrive. For example, a person with the strength of Deliberative will want to inquire about having the time to process new and important information before making a decision on how best to move forward. There are certain work environments where this will be more or less appropriate. Where as someone with the strength of Activator might be looking for an environment where they are empowered to make decisions quickly.
We also know that in learning about our individual strengths, it’s important to spend time learning about all of the 34 Strengths. Establishing this baseline of knowledge and understanding will give you the tools to identify the Strengths your new colleagues exhibit, and empower you to leverage and find compassion for what you experience day to day.
New professionals should selectively approach their job hunt. Every professional should commit to learning their Strengths and using that knowledge to make empowered decisions about what environments and organizational values will best align with their personal and professional aspirations.
One of the best pieces of advice I have given for years to graduating seniors is to start somewhere. When I graduated from college I applied for many jobs, most of which I never heard back from. When I finally found an opportunity that aligned with my Strengths, it was only a part-time opportunity and I needed full time work to pay the bills. Rather than pass on what turned out to be a great starting point, I took a another part-time job doing work I knew I didn’t want to do forever.
Scaffold great opportunities and seek ways to utilize your Strengths and those around you everyday.
Let us Help!
At Leadership Vision, we love working with new professional teams and individuals! Our online Strengths Course is a great tool to deepen understanding of your strengths and a 1:1 conversation with one of our consultants will help you deep dive into the unique dimensions of your strengths.
Additionally, get in touch with us about our Apprentice Program to see if we currently have any opportunities available.