Know Thyself: The Key to Success in College and Career

What are you looking for in a college? Are you mostly concerned about the cost of your degree and the likelihood of getting a high paying job? Or are you just very passionate about a subject and want to learn as much as possible about it? What are you good at, what do you like to do, and what do you want to do? The questions may seem simple but they are not easy to answer. Finding the answers, however, will go a long way to experiencing success in your studies and in life beyond college.

What Is Most Important to Employers

One survey found that HR managers are more likely to hire based on 'cultural fit', not just by technical skills or degrees. Personality and soft skills have a lot to do with fitting into a company culture.

According to the survey, the top three attributes that companies are currently looking for are a positive attitude (84%), communication skills (83%), and an ability to work as a team (74%). These are all skills that can be developed in college, but only if a student knows what they like to do and applies themselves to developing those skills. It’s hard to have a positive attitude when studying a subject you despise or working in a job you hate. Likewise students are not going to be able to work well with others on a team without a basic understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and how they interact with others.

Another survey found that some of the top college outcomes employers rate as important include good oral and written communication, the ability to work worth others on teams, ethical judgment and decision-making, and critical thinking skills. Again, these skills will be most present in graduates who have taken the time to understand their strengths and how they work with other people.

What’s the First Step?

Take some time to think about what it is you like to do and what you’re good at. You should have already expressed interests and natural strengths throughout your childhood and into high school. Remember, something you want to be good at is not the same as something you are naturally good at. If you really want to be a doctor so you can make a lot of money, but you’re terrible at science, this is probably not the best career path to pursue. But maybe you’re a really good communicator who loves people. You could also make a lot of money in sales or business, a career where being a naturally strong communicator will work for you.

Get as much work or volunteer experience as you can in high school and in college. Maybe you’ve always fantasized about working on a farm. Only a summer spent scooping manure and milking cows can tell you if you’ll love this job or hate it. Maybe you’re really into fashion—an internship with a fashion magazine company could help you realize if this is the career for you, or help you realize fashion will just remain a hobby.

Knowing what you’re good at and what you want to pursue is going to make it much easier for you to choose a college and a major that is a great fit for you. Majors Matcher can be a great first step to figuring it out. Take the 20 minute quiz today.