A result sheet stacked full of grade A prestigiously imprinted on it or a much coveted high GP of 4.5+ could earn you great applause, accolade and also increase your chances of getting a good job. However, the corporate world has more demands than those.
In no specific order, here are 12 things students should know; and know how to do before graduating.
1. Learn To Solve Problems
When problems occur, you may be tempted to wait for someone else to resolve them. If you do that always, you won't be strengthening your problem solving skills. Identify problems, think through possible solutions, evaluate them and choose the best one. Most employers value these skills in life; it is hard to get by without them
2. Manage Your Time
Projects and assignments must be turned in on time or your lecturers or teachers (as the case may be) may subtract points from your grade. If you complete tasks on time, you will not only impress your boss, you will decrease your stress level. Rushing to complete tasks or projects to meet deadlines can be very stressful, but failure to do so may cause you to lose your job.
3. Learning Doesn't Stop After You Graduate
Education is an important foundation, but there is no substitute for experience. A good education encourages intellectual capacity and helps you refine the skills necessary to become a better learner. For most business, however, the skills one learns in school are rudiments and serve only as the foundation of what is then learned in the workforce.
4. Keep a Clean Online Presence
The rule is simple, "If you cannot show it or say it to your parents; do not put it on the Internet". At the very least, know how to manipulate your social media privacy settings and how to restrain yourself from littering your friends Facebook walls and Twitter feeds with poop jokes and comments. Being appropriate on the web is just as important for finding employment. Look at how strict other office workers keep their image clean for example.
5. Your Network is Vital
Who you know is important; who you matter to is even more important. Create lasting relations by helping others who will eventually help you. Organize those connections (I like LinkedIn) and work to maintain the relationships. When you need them, they will be there for you.
6. Develop Your EIQ (Also Known as Soft Skills)
Emotional Intelligence Quotient (distinctive from Intelligence Quotient) is used to refer to a cluster of strong interpersonal skills, social grace, politeness, moral ethics and courtesy. According to one school of thought; "Respect is Reciprocal". Using swear words or being arrogant can gradually demoralize you and end up upsetting important people you need. It doesn't mean that you become wholly subservient to others but, at a realistic sense, you should know how to politely address and communicate with people around you - and it includes strangers.
7. Learn to Communicate Well
Learn how to answer questions well. Do not give answers that are too short or too long or plainly off-the-point. In an interview, you are judged not just on the content of your answers, but also on the quality of how they are presented. As a general rule of thumb, 1-2 minute(s) answer(s) is/are okay in interview(s). Some executive positions also demand good communication skills so, if your answers are too short, you are assumed to lack interest, ability, insight or preciseness. See #6 again.
8. Learn to be Independent
It is very easy to rely on parents to navigate any rough waters on your behalf. Many parents are willing to do this. A situation such as having bad grades requires your own initiative. Find out what channels you have to go through to solve the problem, come up with a plan and move forward. When you start working, you will have to advocate for yourself. See #1 again
You may not want to hear criticism from your teachers or family, but you should use them to improve your performance. Generally, they are meant to help you, not put you down. Why? Learning how to take feedback - or - even criticism - can help you get through a poor performance review from your boss. The feedback from your boss may not be meaning compared to what your family say to you but, you can use it to make changes to the way you do your work.
10. Know Your Industry
As a student, you are being prepared with theoretical prognosis to help you develop, but you should know your industry in the corporate world - the top companies, institutions and personalities are worth knowing. Being abreast of these could serve you well and portray you as an active and foresighted student. Gather relevant information and start aiming. "You can't hit a target you can't see). You have to have goals.
11. University Does Not Prepare You For a Job
This is not to dissuade students from trying their best but, nothing except job experience can do that. Do yourself a favour and take internships and curricular activities so that you will have gone through the experiences of being in a work environment. This will make you more hireable after graduating.
12. Introduce Yourself Professionally
Be prepared to do so via email on the phone or with a firm handshake, because a subtle nod or a "Sup Bro" will not work quite well in the office or during an internship as it did in your freshman year. Know how to pronounce people's name properly, how to spell them and also look after your appearance!
(Spoiler Alert) Some organizations provide training to their staff attendant to be able to detect unusual body signals just by the way you purport yourself, dress, walk or look)
So that is it. My 12 lists of the important and necessary things you should know - and know how to do before graduating.