How to Turn Academic Skills into Professional Skills

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As a student, I am often forced to leave the classroom to find “job experience”, however there are many skills that we learn in class which can transfer to a professional environment.

1. Diligently scribble – A new job or internship can be overwhelming at first, so write everything down. Taking detailed notes shows you are paying attention and keeps you accountable in the future. It also can help prevent “dumb” questions, which do exist.
2. Speak up – Participate in creative brainstorms and if you have an idea, by all means share it with your co-workers. Don’t be the shy student that never contributes to class discussion, but rather engage and chip in to the conversation.
3. Be independent – If you have a question, try to figure it out on your own before asking another employee. Make sure though, that you do ask if you truly cannot figure it out; you do not want to make a decision that will hurt your employer.
4. Know the expectations – On the first day of class, you read the syllabus which tells you what to expect, but also what the professor expects of you. Make sure you understand your employer’s expectations of you. It is wise to review these expectations on a regular basis.
5. Get to know your peers – Network with your coworkers and make sure to spend those 5-10 minutes talking about sports/weather/popular culture to build friendly relationships with them. High immediacy in the workplace = career success.
6. Talk to the professor during office hours – Show an interest in your supervisor or other associates. If they are willing to share, ask them about their career path and what suggestions they have for someone starting out in the field.
7. Save your work – Save all of your notes and work that you have done. This is to be accountable and to retain for future use (in a portfolio, to replicate projects, etc.).
8. Study, study, study – Prepare, prepare, prepare. Whether it be a presentation, a meeting, or a media call you always want to be prepared. It seems basic, but it is soooo important and easy to miss.

One thought on “How to Turn Academic Skills into Professional Skills

  1. Pingback: Saturday Night Wisdom: The Birthday Edition « Afterglow

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