As a former agency executive, mentor and now professor I love to hear success stories from graduates and past colleagues. I am also contacted frequently by panicked graduates and former colleagues who have not yet found their way professionally. Over the years, I’ve noticed several commonalities between those who achieve success and those who flounder. Here is what I’ve learned:
1. Grades matter, but not as much as you’d think. Students with the highest GPAs aren’t necessarily those who are the most successful. In fact, those who solely focused on earning the best grades, while forgoing extra-curricular activities or internships, tend not to land the best careers.
2. Confidence can take you far. Some of my best students lacked the confidence to pursue their dream careers and instead floundered unhappily because they didn’t dare to leave their safe zone and try something new. Those who are secure in their abilities have far greater success.
3. Cockiness is a killer. Confidence is great, but the inability to accurately evaluate skills and abilities, and be willing to learn, greatly impedes achievement.