Here’s the deal: contrary to what you’ve been told your whole academic life… straight A’s don’t pay off.
Your college GPA is to some degree important for your future—no employer wants to hire a D student. But if you’re tempted to spend all four years of college glued to the library for that perfect 4.0….
Just. Say. No.
Flawless grades are not your golden ticket to Dream Job Land. There are better ways to prep for your career and your future. So if you want to land a killer job, stop stressing over your GPA…. and focus on these five things instead:
1. Real World Work Experience (Even if it’s Not Much)
You will not get a job post graduation if you have a blank resume. It’s just too competitive. Even for entry-level positions, employers want experience. (In my opinion, this is ridiculous. I have a Bachelor’s degree and you won’t hire me to answer phones and make copies because I don’t have experience doing that? Sorry, I’m ranting, but it’s reality.)
So how do we get past that? During college, you need to get either an internship or a part-time job. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy—just something that tells employers you’ve answered phones and made copies. I worked on campus as a tour guide and I loved it. Sure, I was earning $7/hour working 9 hours a week (I barely made $100 every paycheck), but it was experience.
Work experience is also a fabulous way to explore careers and figure out what kind of jobs you like—and which ones you can’t stand. So put down your textbook and get your feet wet in real world work.
2. Being a Nice Human Being
I don’t care what anyone says, you won’t be successful if you have zero people skills. For the most part, people just don’t like to work with the Socially Awkward. So use your time in college to develop relationships. Go to networking events. Start conversations with strangers. Go to lunch with your friends every day. Date. Date a lot.
If you want to succeed at work, you’re going to have to build good relationships—with your co-workers, your boss, vendors, clients, etc. Get used to handling tricky social situations and you’ll be ahead of the game.
3. The Two F’s: Friends and Fun
In college, there are million different clubs, activities, and societies to choose from. So you’ve got no excuse to not have a hobby!
Eventually—anywhere from 4-10 years from now—you’ll graduate. And when life gets crazy, you’ll need those hobbies (and friends you make along the way) to keep you sane. You won’t remember the grade you got on that biology test you spent 92 hours studying for. But you will remember the fun you had doing awesome things with cool people.
4. Awesome Writing Skills
If you’re great at the quadratic formula, congrats! But it probably won’t matter ten years from now.
What employers need are people who can think. People who can create. People who have ideas and can express them. And that’s what writing is about. Even if you’re planning on a math or science career (where your calculus know-how might actually come in handy), you still need strong communication skills. So if you’re a good writer, use that to your advantage. And if you’re not, start reading more often. And then start writing.
5. Fight-For-It Attitude
You will apply to jobs and you will be rejected. It’s a fact of life. Embrace it. And then keep on going.
Perseverance is one quality you’re going to need by your side your whole life. You got rejected from your dream job? Cool. Apply to another one. You didn’t get that promotion? Wonderful. Ask for another one. The people who get farthest in life have the ability to just keep going.
In the words of Babe Ruth, “it’s hard to beat the person who never gives up.”
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at InsideJobs.com!
About the Author: Kayla Cruz, founder of Gen Y Girl, is a twentysomething entering the workforce, hoping to share her experiences with other young professionals. Follow her on Twitter Gen Y Girl.