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In our lifetime we will have seven or more careers that can be totally unrelated. You will build and enhance your skills through your organizational, community and career involvement. How are you so far? Take the following Skills Fitness Quiz.
  • Initiative. How well can you identify steps to start a project, gathering the necessary resources and team support on your own? How comfortable do you feel taking calculated risks toward solving a problem without detailed direction? What have you done besides going to class?

  • Diversity skills. Diversity encompasses not only people from different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds, but persons with disabilities, LGBT persons and differences in personality. Do you actively seek ways to interact and socialize with groups outside of your experience?

  • Leadership and teamwork. Can you build support for an idea or goal in a group effectively? How well do you understand others needs, strengths and weaknesses as you work through a task or problem together? How effectively can you move others to action?

  • Decision-making skills. How well do you identify the pros and cons associated with a given course of action? Do you think about long term and short term consequences and impacts of a given decision on others? How well can you relate actions to desired outcomes?

  • Problem-solving skills. How well do you identify, prioritize and develop a plan for solving a given problem? In groups, are you able to put your finger on what is not working in a situation and go about solving it with the help of others?

  • Communication skills. How well do you listen and understand others? How well can you make a presentation to a group? Can you effectively write a memo, email, proposal, or paper that outlines a given issue or course of action with impact?

  • Computer skills. Do you have a functional command of basic office productivity software (i.e. word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation and calendar/email programs)? How well can you use the Internet to find relevant information and research essential to your tasks?

  • Time management and organization skills. Can you set priorities in line with your performance goals? How well do you organize tasks and see them through to completion by a deadline?

  • Learning. Do you stay up to date on current issues or developments in your areas of interest? How often do you actively seek new information that will help you grow personally or help you achieve better results in school or work?

  • Innovation. How well do you think outside the box by developing creative solutions or ideas? Do you look for ways to be more effective in the work you do? Can you adapt well to changing situations?

Work Toward Success

The University of Michigan Career Services and Placement Center offers the following "prescriptions" to make sure you have a healthy start on your future.
  • Take a career assessment. Learn about the skills you have and ways to match them with potential career fields.

  • See a career adviser. Anytime you need to bounce some ideas around or want to explore what to do with your life, a career adviser can be a great point person to guide you on your way.

  • Conduct informational interviews. Contact people in your fields of interest to learn about the reality of a particular job and current trends in the industry. Informational interviews help you build career contacts.

  • Test it out. Seek out opportunities to gain experience in your field through academic service-learning courses, job shadowing, volunteer work, internships, or other employment.

  • Get involved. Show initiative by pursuing your interests and passions. Create or join a student or professional organization. Make a difference in your community through community service.

  • Create a portfolio. A portfolio can help you reflect on your skills and demonstrate them to employers, graduate, and professional schools.

  • Develop professional resumes and cover letters. Your resume is more than a list of job descriptions, it is a way to demonstrate your skills and level of initiative to employers.

  • Understand trends in the job market. Learn about trends affecting job opportunities in your field.

  • Plan a proactive job search. It's all about strategy. Job listings only account for 20 percent of the available employment opportunities. Use your creativity to connect with employers in different ways. Use your career contacts. Consult with your career adviser to strategize on the best methods for your field.

  • Keep learning. Your classes are your foundation, but its up to you to connect your academic experiences with your career goals. Looking for ways to connect different subjects and current affairs to your profession helps you develop innovative ways to solve real world problems.

Source: Michigan State University. Career Services and Placement.

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