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The Guide to Being a SMART Grad

May 28, 2013

As the pomp and circumstance of college careers come to a close for thousands of graduates and they begin preparing to trade in hard-earned degrees for salaries with benefits, landing the best job in town can have a lot more to do with character than valedictorian status. When selecting the best employee comes down to the wire, companies are looking for someone who will fit into the company’s culture, who can grow within the company and can hit the ground running with new ideas and innovation. Companies today are looking for a SMART grad -- someone who is Steadfast, Mature, Articulate, Resourceful and a Team player.

Steadfast: Employers don’t have the time or interest to worry about if you’re going to show up for work or if you're going to do a good job. They have to trust their employees to get the job done correctly and on time. As such, today’s grads need to show up for work committed to doing their best every time, being available when needed and trusted to finish projects as expected.

Mature: The days of goofing off in class and watching the latest online prank videos instead of listening to your professor need to be long gone when you enter the workforce.  Being on time to work each day, not calling in sick, being responsible for your success and conducting yourself in an overall mature manner with your co-workers and managers are all prerequisites to succeeding in a positive work environment.

Articulate: Communicating your point in a clear and concise manner, both verbally and in written form, is very important in any work environment. Whether it’s contributing to a brainstorming meeting, crafting internal and customer e-mails or pitching an idea to your boss, you won’t be taken seriously if you can’t speak what’s on your mind appropriately.

Resourceful: Being able to take a project that you are assigned and run with it is important to the success of today's grads. If you don't know all of the answers to a problem or project, being able to ask the right people the right questions or find the appropriate information from the appropriate source is an important skill for successfully excelling in today’s fast-paced companies.  

Team Player: Team players know when it’s time to be a leader and when it’s more appropriate to be a teammate. SMART grads value teamwork and focus on fulfilling their individual responsibilities in order for the team to succeed. It's important for today’s grads to be able to work well with fellow co-workers, bosses and other departments to finish a project that meets expectations on-time.

New graduates need to keep these top five characteristics in mind throughout the process of interviewing, starting a new job and excelling as a top-performing employee. SMART grads translate into becoming valuable employees who set themselves up to succeed and enjoy the benefits of being a highly sought-after asset for the top companies in the industry.

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