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12 Things That Are in Your Control and Require No Talent

These days, it’s easy for students to become consumed with gaining a competitive advantage over their peers in college or in their career. They belabor their GPA or their SAT score, their IQ and whether they took an AP course, all the while missing some fundamentals that can completely differentiate them from others. The good news is, I am speaking of attributes that are totally in their control and require zero talent. Below are essential skills or qualities that are more about attitude than aptitude:

1. Show up early to meetings.

2. Watch your body language (look up; lean in; don’t cross your arms).

3.  Demonstrate a rigorous work ethic.

4. Take initiative on projects.

5. Display energy and passion.

6. Speak clearly and confidently.

7. Choose an optimistic attitude.

8. Ask colleagues how you can help them.

9. Remain teachable.

10. Do a little extra.

11. Smile and act friendly.

12. Be prepared with a notepad for every meeting.

A word to the wise. After graduation, very few employers are asking about a job candidate’s IQ, GPA or if they took AP classes. More and more, these employers are asking for soft skills (employability skills) that are completely in the graduate’s control. It’s time students take control of what’s in their control and stop worrying about elements that are out of their control. If a student is looking for a competitive advantage—this simple list above is a great place to start.


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