connections

Skills vs. Connections: What is More Important Nowadays?

To hone your skills or to network? That is the ultimate question we all have to come to terms with, at some point in life. Some may place their bets on having the right skills while others may swear by the importance of their network.

They both may be right because experiences vary from one person to another. So, does the submitted MBA application personal statement from potential candidates. You could be looking for the ideal position after your MBA, or think about starting or growing your business.

Whatever your reasons, you need to think critically about your next move. Below are the reasons why?

Changing employment landscape

A 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, on The Future of Jobs, predicts that many people will be in jobs that don’t exist at present, by 2020. The report also predicts a shift in skills that are sought after, from technical to soft skills.

It is a shift that is already taking place in various industries. As employers seek potential employees, who have attributes such as, problem-solving, time management, effective communication, ability to work in teams, and more. According to The Ladders, possessing soft skills brings the performance of an employee, to life.

The democratisation of the ability to network

Throughout history, whom you know, has been more important than what you know. When there’s difficulty in finding the appropriate contacts, hoarding of information, and scarcity of cash; that is mostly true.

However, the development and increased usage of various social networking platforms, networking is becoming democratised. They have made connecting with people as smooth as a Google Search. Regarding capital, it is safe to say that it is relatively plentiful.

Besides, with more information becoming public, this offers a person less competitive advantage, nowadays. You don’t need an invitation to listen to free TED lectures. In a world that’s more hyper-connected, whom you know may not matter as much as it did in the past.

Personal Connections are essential to a business

A good connection could write you a compelling waiver letter. All over the globe, technological advances are opening up new economic avenues. Both consumers and businesses have a wide array of organisations to choose from, which increases competition.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review by Cara France and Mark Bonchek; they explain what a business needs to remain competitive. They show how creating relationships that are mutually beneficial to the customer, and the organisation gives a company, competitive advantage.

The Concept of Marginal Benefit

It is a concept from economics that may not apply in your search for a suitable statement of purpose for MBA service but proves useful in this debate. It is the idea that many activities, result in diminishing returns.

In the tradeoff between skill-development and networking, the worth of an activity depends on your position on the marginal benefit curve. For one who never cultivates connections, networking more may prove beneficial, than improving your skills.

On the other hand, no matter how many people you know, if you don’t have the right skills; you are useless. You need to have something that people can pay you to do. Besides your skills and connections form a loop of positive feedback.

In that, your skills improve depending on the people you know. In turn, with improved skills, you can meet more important people.

Possessing a better network drives you to better your skills because of the limited opportunities that encourage rapid growth of one’s abilities. Often, these opportunities flow through relationships. It may be difficult for you to separate your skills from your connections.

Once you have built valuable skills that other people want, it will be easier for more people to want to have a meeting with you. For many of us like high-value people, right?

Conclusion

For some people, finding a balance between networking and developing one’s skills may prove difficult, especially for the introverted types. We often if not always find refuge in our solitude and rarely form strong connections with the people we meet for the first time.

However, in a world that celebrates extroversion, it may be best to tap into your extroverted mode, once in a while. Try cycling between these two opposing modes for your career growth.

Besides, when you form new relationships, you open doors to serendipity. As for which is more important, it all depends on your location on the curve of marginal benefit. Some may benefit from more networking, others from improving their skills.

Then, there are those who need to find a balance between both. All in all, the connections we have, generate the opportunities available to us, and for you to accept any of those opportunities, you need the ability to deliver.

4 Career Resources On-Campus Most College Students Ignore

Like almost everything in life, college is essentially a business. Not only are they selling you an education, but there is a fierce rivalry for those scholarship dollars.

Therefore, colleges and universities have a vested interest in the success of their scholars.

After all, famous or successful alumni can boost their demand. Colleges are on the lookout for new ways to help their graduates succeed after graduation.

Most of them offer a wide range of options for students to gain a competitive edge while in school that will help them after they get their degree. Many undergraduates, however, do not take the full advantage of these sources.

Here are 4 key career resources on campus that most people ignore.

1. Career Center

Many students labor under the mistaken impression that all they have to do is to graduate or get good grades to land a great job. While a solid GPA is a right direction, it’s only one of the many, many steps it takes to parlay a degree into a good career.

In addition, while undergraduates may know what they are passionate about, turning their skills and talents into a paying profession is a whole other issue.

A campus career center can guide you to figure out what to do with your diploma once you have it and what other steps you need to take to work where you want.

For instance, if you want to be a lawyer, you need to have far more than an excellent academic track and high LSAT score to get into a good school. While those are the two most important components of your application, the truth is there are thousands of applicants with the same test results and impeccable GPA’s.

Internships and other extra-curricular activities are the difference between getting you into a top school versus a more mediocre one. A career center can help you gain the advantage you need to join the elite.

2. Student Organizations

Being associated with societies in college often cuts into time that majority would prefer to spend socializing. While hanging out with colleagues is certainly an important part of the college experience, there is no reason you can’t do both.

Most students involved in collegiate groups still want to have a good time, they just balance their time more wisely.

Not only does engagement in a student club look great on a resume or graduate school applications, it can also help you gain lifelong friendships and contacts that can become valuable in your career. In addition, there are several other benefits to joining a student organization.

These include developing favorable “soft skills” like learning to cooperate with a team, good communication, prioritizing tasks and building up a strong work ethic.

3. Mentorships

Mentorships are not just important in college, they will be essential throughout your career. College is a perfect time to cultivate mentors that can not only help you succeed during your scholar years but far beyond it.

Having a career in your field is hard enough to have but turning it into a fulfilling one is a whole different issue. That’s where getting a wise advisor goes a long way.

A great mentor can help you gain a broad range of experiences that can narrow down the route you want to pursue within the larger field of your degree. For instance, if you choose to be a doctor, there is a wide range of paths open to you. In fact, while figuring out what type of specialist you want to be, you may discover you don’t prefer to be a physician at all, but perhaps a nurse or veterinarian.

Being a mentee means getting counsel and experience needed to determine what direction you want to take before you invest a great deal of money in an education only to find out it’s not what you want to do.

4. Campus Events and Activities

Campus events that can have a significant impact on your career involve things like speakers and career fairs, but there are also some less obvious activities that can help.

Here are a few others:

  • Sports: Taking part in sporting events can mean being on an intramural softball team, playing disk golf or even being a part of an athletic booster organization or pep band. Not only will involvement build your social skills and networks but just learning about different sports might get you ahead in your career one day.
  • Volunteer and service-related activities: While internships are great and can provide valuable experience, there is little that stands out on a resume or graduate school application like volunteering. Joining such events shows you want to do something more than just make a lot of money. While there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting a satisfactory income, (to pay back those student loans) most schools and businesses are looking for virtuous citizens along with potential employees.
  • Multicultural activities: Travel is often considered being an invaluable part of the college experience, which is why so many exchange student or freight studies opportunities are out there. Taking part in it may be the next best thing. No matter what is your major, having an expanded worldview will help. Marketing majors can benefit from understanding the differing values of other cultures and how to speak to them.
  • Arts: Much like traveling abroad, working on your creative skills can expand your horizons and help you see things from a whole new perspective. In addition, artistic pursuits are often an excellent means of relieving stress. Besides helping broaden your view, developing such discipline can carry you through many twists and turns in your career.

No matter what type of career field you want to pursue, your college campus will offer a wide range of resources to help you. It is up to you, however, to take advantage.

Not only can these opportunities help you reach your goals, but they can save you a great deal of time and money by offering counseling and advice on how to find the right path for you.

Being certain about the course of your future is critical to avoid spending precious resources pursuing a path to wake up and find out that what you chose is not the where you want to be.