There is no doubt that a successful career in business administration demands concrete skills in computers, accounting, marketing, and human resource management. College programs focus on helping students learn, practice, and apply these skills—so they can land great jobs after graduation.
However, once a business grad gets her foot in the door, she'll need more than technical knowledge to grow a successful career. Some of the most powerful and desirable assets business professionals possess are in fact "soft skills"; techniques, attitudes, and character traits that are not necessarily taught in class.
Many students don't realize it, but soft skills are very highly valued in the business world. A recent global survey by ManpowerGroup Inc. asked hiring managers to list the reasons they can't fill vacant positions. Lack of soft skills ranked among the top five.
Employers know that personality and character matter—just as much as technical skill and knowledge. This is especially true for professions that require team work, communication, and problem-solving.
These are three of the most important personality traits (or soft skills) business school grads should focus on to truly excel at that first job—and build genuinely rewarding careers for life.
1. Generosity: Givers, not Takers Get Ahead in Business
This is a tough concept for many business school grads to buy into. Most have learned that fierce competition is needed to get noticed, get ahead, and ultimately succeed in business. And while it's true that businesses must compete against each other in a free market, that doesn't mean there is no place for generosity between professionals.
Top-rated Wharton Business School professor and award-winning author, Adam Grant, writes about how "givers" and not "takers" get ahead in the world of business. His acclaimed book, Give and Take, cites a wide range of historical and modern day examples to support this revolutionary idea. Despite the competitive atmosphere of many career training programs and work environments, it is team-building and collaboration (true "networking") that win the day in business—and by a wide margin!
Grant shows how we can help colleagues without getting exploited, and benefit hugely from generous behavior at the office. This book is an absolute must-read for every business professional, at every level.
2. Grit: Pushing Forward After Setbacks & Failures
The quality known as "grit" has been defined as one of the single most important attributes of successful people, across all fields. How much "grit" you have is determined by your ability to get back up and keep striving, even after embarrassing and disappointing failures.
Management consultant turned professor, researcher, and author, Angela Duckworth made the concept of grit famous with her 2016 book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. The book became an instant New York Times bestseller, and continues to inspire and influence people across the globe.
If you've returned to training after being out of school for a while, or are taking a risk to follow a new career path, you probably already have a fair amount of grit. Grit is about hard work, determination, and positivity. Some of the most important soft skills out there!
3. Thirst for Knowledge: The Learning Never Stops
A number of experts and top-10 lists focus on things like learning agility and self-improvement as crucial soft skills for business professionals. Business Insider, Inc.com, and Huffington Post are just a few publications that talk about ongoing learning as key to business success.
Whether it's a new office software, organizational strategy, project management tool, or marketing trend—thirst for new knowledge helps professionals stay ahead of the curve. When you're always learning, and never complacent, you become a tremendous asset to your employer. And if you plan to start your own business one day, professional development will be integral to your very survival!
Not sure you've got enough generosity, grit, or passion to get started in business? Not to worry. It turns out these soft skills can be worked on and improved over time. In fact, the best professionals are always seeking out ways to give more, be more "gritty', and learn something new. And what better place to start than business administration training?
Interested in learning more about earning a business diploma? Considering business colleges in Montreal?
Take a look at Herzing College's Business Administration, Sales and Marketing program, delivered at the Montreal campus. Visit the program page for a full list of courses, career paths, or to chat live with a knowledgeable instructor. We're here to help!