Survival Skills: College and Career

I don’t know about you, but I know an awful lot of 20 year olds that are stuck. As a matter of fact, one of those 20-year olds is my brother. He played sports all throughout high school and did not have much time for a job. He graduated with an intention of going to college, but had a side dream of being a marine. It is about a year later, and he is having the same battle. Lucky for him, there are many people out there like Jo Leonard. Jo is the President and Founder of Jo Leonard, LLC. She helps people plan for career and college. As we guide you through separation and divorce, Jo can help your children navigate through college and their careers. Below is an article Jo wrote about what it takes to make it in the real world. Share this bit of information to your graduates or 20-somethings!

Jo’s Word of the Decade – CAPABLE

I’ve been helping 20-something’s find their direction and their 1st, 2nd and 3rd job for 10 years. That’s a lot of resumes, a lot of networking training, a lot of cover letter development, a lot of assessments, a few tears, some cranky looks, a fair amount of push back, and a whole slew of fearful looks. But my clients keep landing and I have a stack of thank you notes to prove it.

So what have I learned in all these years that I would consider the common denominator, the secret, the ONE thing that stands out as the most important attribute needed to be in demand in this Knowledge-Based Economy?

I love short stories, so here’s one to illustrate the answer:

At the age of 11, my Dad let me and my friend Jo (yes, another Jo), serve tea and cakes to guests sitting by the pool of our small family hotel on the south coast of England. I earned $1.50 per hour and worked 9am to 6pm everyday for 8 weeks during the summer. At 13 I was promoted to chamber maid (housekeeper), serving tea to guests in their rooms and then cleaning the rooms when they had left for the day. At 15 I went into the kitchen, chopped 6,000,000 mushrooms everyday, and then at 16 worked in the bar and restaurant. Dad made me go to work for other local hotels over the next 2 years, so I would get used to different styles of businesses and learn to adapt and be flexible.

I learned to be CAPABLE from an early age, and as I look back onto the last 10 years, I see how important of an attribute this is for 20-Something’s looking for a career.

So I want you think about these examples of what capable means, and say yes out loud when you see one you can do:

  • 1. Make a great looking, great tasting sandwich, cut and presented in 2 minutes or less.
  • 2. Fill out a deposit slip, walk into a bank, deposit it and then order foreign currency for a trip.
  • 3. Book and pay for a flight with a credit card.
  • 4. Stop a fire detector in your house without pulling out the batteries or hitting it!
  • 5. Make a bed that would make your Grandma proud.
  • 6. Sew on a button in 4 minutes.
  • 7. Order a meal for your date, ask for the check, tip and pay with a credit card, pull out the chair, and put on her coat without her getting tied up in knots.
  • 8. Check into and out of a hotel.
  • 9. Drive in and out of New York City.
  • 10.Parallel park on a busy street.
  • 11.Organize catering for a party of 12, including drinks, dinner, and entertainment.
  • 12.Give a toast at a wedding, with 15 minutes notice.
  • 13.Write a handwritten thank you note that is legible and articulate.
  • 14.Fill out and submit your own taxes.
  • 15.Find out and understand your credit score.

That’s enough for now.

If you score less than 10, NOW is the time to question whether you have the multi-faceted abilities needed to survive and thrive in the real world. All of these actions require the following skills and personality traits.

  • Problem solving
  • Articulate communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Self management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Self awareness
  • Research
  • Risk taking
  • Resilience
  • Organization
  • And if you can master some or all of those, you are ready to take flight. Ready to innovate and prosper.

    And for a little extra credit:

    What Colleges Will Teach in 2025

    To learn more about Jo Leonard and her career counseling services click here


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