Some students spend their entire college career thinking that their grades will determine whether they land the career they want. While high GPAs prove students’ performance in school, it doesn’t directly reflect how they will perform in the workplace. Professional success is a combination of hard work, intelligence, personality and communication skills. Success can be earned despite that D+ in your 19th century European History class. Becky Johns in Ragan’s PR Daily lists the nine things that matter more to employers than grades.
1. Know how you learn
It’s important to understand what kind of learner you are: visual, audio, hands-on. This will help you through college and benefit you once you enter the workforce. New information will be presented to you at all times, and it is your job to quickly retain and utilize it.
2. Applying theory to real-life situations
Using the information you learned from the classroom, professors and textbooks will not always be straight forward or in the exact scenario you understood it to be. “The real world will always throw new variables at you, so knowing how to adapt theory to practice is crucial,” Johns said.
3. Time management
College is a great time to learn time management; balancing the time you need to study for a test or write a research paper and still fit in a workout have time with friends is no easy task. But, it’s a useful and necessary skill to have for the professional world beyond the classroom.
Getting involved in college can truly create an advantage when you’re battling hundreds of qualified job applicants. Internship experience may be the one factor that sets you apart from the crowd. Experience can also come through jobs, student organizations and volunteering.
5. A portfolio proving you can produce work
Samples of your best work can show employers what you have to offer them and exactly what to expect if they hire you. School work and internships can provide good pieces to showcase your abilities. Otherwise, you can produce samples on your own time. The Center for Career Development offers tips to get started building your portfolio.
6. The ability to give and receive feedback
Not only will you receive criticism and positive feedback as an employee, but you will be expected to give your honest opinions about your co-workers’ work. Both may be difficult to do, but it will make a better employee out of you.
7. Presentation skills
Remember all those times your professors told you how crucial it was to be an effective speaker? They were right. From job interviews to company projects, employers want people who can communicate ideas clearly and confidently.
8. Writing skills
Communicating takes on many forms, and writing is one of them. Johns said, “Focus on developing this skill, because it will matter in everything from reports to pitches to emails.” To get some practice, you can work on your portfolio.
9. Your network
The sooner you start meeting new people and building professional relationships, the easier it will be to create a network that provides opportunities for future employment. Joe McKendrick, contributing writer for Forbes said, “One way to boost this is to get active with professional groups and participate in conferences.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should slack off in class. But if you haven’t done well in a class or two, it shouldn’t derail your career path if you’ve developed these other skills.