Thursday, September 18, 2014

Most marketable skill

I was approached by an online education company called Webucator to write a blog entry on the most marketable skill that new job seekers should possess. Because I lack the ability to say no even to requests from total strangers that pay nothing, I gladly accepted the challenge.

Here's my advice:

Be an interesting person.

Choose a college that inspires you, and a college major that inspires you, and a career that inspires you. That's hard, because college is incredibly expensive, and there are loans to pay back, and you want to think of it as an investment with a clear payoff, and yada, yada, yada.

Here's the thing.

Oxen exist to pull plows. People can pull plows too--often we must. But we can also aspire to be artists and writers and ballerinas and baseball players. Even if you don't end up making a living doing one of those things, don't be quick to trade in that part of your humanity to be a higher-paid plow-puller.

There are hiring managers in the world, believe it or not, who want more than oxen. They want people on their teams who can think creatively, who are intelligent and well rounded, who can adapt and grow, and who aspire to things beyond the mundane. They'd rather hire a person with a BA in English than a BA in Business.

Find those people. Do a great job for them. Then, when it's your turn, hire the smartest, most interesting people you can find.

That's the best I got.

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