Posts Tagged ‘ Critical Thinking ’

Preparing for a Career

“The right career is the career that you are happy with, or the career that you make yourself happy with.”

Career is probably the most important part of your life. It is the mechanism that supports you and your family for the rest of your life. Making a decision about career has to be well-informed.

How to prepare for your career?

Many Cambodian students currently cannot find right career after they graduated from university. This might be because they do not possess sufficient skills or experience that prepare them for future career. The article explains what skills you need for your career and how to gain those skills.

1.   What skills do you need for your career?

Skills can be classified into two types: content skills and soft skills. From most students’ perspectives, content skills, which are what you learn from class, are the most important thing. They believe good scores are the most important factor to get a good career. However, soft skills, skills that you learn outside class, are still as important.

1.1.   Content skills: are skills you can gain from your academic life in school or university.

For example, if you choose to study International Studies, your content skills are achieved through learning different subjects such as Political Science, ASEAN Studies or Regional Studies. Content skills are important but remember that many people end up having a job that is not related to their major. So you need to have other skills as well.

  • Soft skills: skills you can gain from your real work or practice as a result of social interaction with other people such as volunteering, doing an internship, and attending workshops. They are called soft skills because they can be applied in a lot of situations, not just workplace but also social situations. There are a lot of soft skills, and different employers look for different soft skills. However, commonly the most sought-after soft skills are Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Leadership, Team Work, and Commitment
  • Critical Thinking: This is the ability to pinpoint good points and bad points of a certain issue. In a company, an employer wants a person who is able to tell them what might be wrong and how to make a project better instead of a YES person, who always says yes all the time. If you are given a project to do, you will be considered to be critical if you can tell what shortcomings are and how to compensate them. This cuts down the risk of failure.
  • Problem solving: If you can solve problems by yourself when running into problems, it will save a lot of your manager’s time. You need to have a right mentality for this. Every time you run into trouble, it is important to ask yourself first, not to look for your manager first. Just ask yourself “What would you do if you were the manager?
  • Leadership: Again, to achieve a bigger task, you need to know how to use people and how to assign them tasks to do. It is about what you

    Team

    want and how to get people to help you get what you want.

  • Team work: It is the ability to work cooperatively with different people from different backgrounds. Sometime you might be smart but you can’t work with others. Your being smart will lead you to nowhere because you are an obstruction, not a contribution to the team. Good team members ask themselves

    Work

    How should I react to bring the best result for my team? NOT how should I react if I hate this person? NOT what should I do if I want to advance my own interest? Good team members are result-oriented, not people-oriented. If you are people-oriented, you will find it hard to do things against the persons you like although you know that you might have a better idea. Equally, you will find it difficult to support the person you hate although his/her idea is right.

  • Commitment:Committed people bring result to a company because they keep going despite difficulties. Smart people sometimes do not produce results because they are quick to quit when facing problems. Committed people also produce a good culture in an organization; they inspire people to work hard and overcome short-term difficulties. If you lack commitment, ask yourself “If NOT me, who? If NOT now, when?”

 2.     How can you gain your desired skills?

Content skills are more or less easier to achieve than soft skills because they are taught at school while soft skills have to be picked up a long way of life. Having said that, you can gain these skills through the following ways:

Reflection: If you are aware of what you lack and what you want, you will find the opportunity to do so. If you simply put a question in your head, sooner or later you will find an answer. If you want to be a good team work, then every time you work with others you can ask What has gone wrong today? What has gone right? What could be done differently to make things better? By the end am I am happy with what I am doing? Why or Why not?

Mentoring: Find people who are interested in listening to you and who are interested in telling you stories and personal experience. These are people that can become your mentors. If you keep good relationship with them, you will benefit from their words. They can help you evaluate yourself, give you guidance, and find your passion. Try discussing different topics with mentors.

Volunteering: People are more open when volunteering and more tolerant towards mistakes. So you need to look for a volunteer job that you like and explore it. Don’t stick to one skill. If you used to work for a marketing team, you should next time try administration. It will give you a different perspective. The most important of all is to grab (if possible create) an opportunity to work with the person that you like and admire. You will be sure to learn a lot.

 

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