One of the workplace capabilities listed on each supplemental syllabus is perseverance. Perseverance requires a level of patience and maturity. In the long-term, perseverance is what allows someone to complete a degree.
However, in the short-term, it is what helps us work through the smaller obstacles that can ultimately derail a career path. Perseverance means going through the sometimes frustrating process of working through technical issues, continuing to grapple with tough course material, and completing projects when there is every possible distraction. What will perseverance look like in the workplace? It will mean attempting to resolve issues with challenging co-workers, spending time researching a case or file, and being able to stay focused on long-term goals such as a promotion. Thinking about how your coursework will help you cultivate perseverance will be a great strength to showcase in an interview. Being able to specifically demonstrate focus on long-term goals will make you that much more appealing to future employers, and more confident in your own abilities.
A closely related capability (also listed in the supplemental syllabi) is problem-solving. While problem-solving obviously involves perseverance, it also requires other skills. One aspect of successful problem-solving is knowing what you don’t know. Spending hours attempting to solve an issue that is beyond your knowledge (a technical issue, for example) is inefficient and will likely lead to frustration. It’s also important to know what problems are outside of your scope to solve. For example, a conflict may arise to the level where it is more appropriate for Human Resources to be involved. After assessing that a problem is indeed in your domain to solve, an effective approach will lead to a quicker, stronger result.
Ask yourself the following questions: Whose assistance would be beneficial in solving this problem? Including others will strengthen teamwork and will allow you to take advantage of the strengths of your co-workers. Are there other responsibilities that need to be delegated or postponed? Making a quick assessment of other tasks is necessary to ensure that more problems are not created. One way problem solving is essential as a workplace capability is learning from mistakes.
Taking the time to reflect on the possible causes of an issue can prevent the issue from occurring again. This is where your courses can help prepare you. Some coursework itself will involve solving a real or hypothetical issue. Also, the necessary problem-solving involved with obtaining a degree provides an opportunity to showcase your skills to future employers. Being able to describe how you navigated technical issues and completed involved tasks such as financial aid demonstrates an ability to work through new situations. Or, for example, if you scored poorly on an assignment because you did not read instructions carefully or ask questions, you can describe how you learned from the experience and improved in the future.
Pointing to specific issues and describing how you avoided the similar problem in the future will make you stand out to future employers, and you may end up with more than one job offer! What a great problem to have