You probably never thought of study planning as a skill that could get you your first job, but it most certainly will.
How? In two ways:
Firstly, it will improve your GPA which will get you more interviews.
Secondly, it will give you the planning skills that the hiring managers are looking for. That will get you more job offers.
Everything in Life Starts With a Plan
Why is planning an important skill?
Stop and look around you. Can you find just one thing that was not designed, manufactured, and distributed without a plan?
The building you’re inside of?
The chair you’re sitting in?
Your computer, your phone, your clothing?
Your coffee cup?
No way. Planning is everywhere. Every product, every project, and every process is designed and managed by some kind of a plan.
When you graduate and go to work at any organization, everything you do will be managed by a plan.
Plans define the objective and bring clarity to everyone involved. They organize the steps to be taken and how they’ll be done. They set a timeline on when things need to be done and serve as a measure of performance.
Planning Is Both a Skill and a Mindset
Good planners are detail-oriented. They think about what they need to achieve and how they are going to do it. They are process-driven and systematic. They look for the most efficient ways of doing things.
They are team players and good managers.
All of these are traits that employers look for when making a hire. They want self-starters who can take on a project or a problem and know that it will get done correctly.
Knowing this, you can make yourself stand out in an interview. Employers like to ask questions about things you’ve accomplished, problems you’ve overcome, or what special skills you think you can bring to them.
The Answer to The Classic Interview Question: “What are you good at?”
Here’s what you are going to say:
“I was always able to think through any problem I faced in college. I think the reason was that I was always a good planner. That is the skill I can bring to your organization as well.
College was a project for me and I ran it like one. I was very good at understanding exactly what I needed to accomplish and I would systematically get it done, on time, and to a high level of quality.
How did I do that?
I was always asking myself these questions:
What is the goal I need to accomplish?
How much time do I have?
What are the specific tasks that I need to get done?
How much time do I need for each?
Will I have time to get them done on time?
When will I do them?
What is the most effective way to do them to get the best results in the least amount of time?
What will I do when things change or go wrong?
What are the resources I’m going to need?
Who are the people I need on my team and what will each of them do?
I’m always in control of everything I’m doing. I’m very detail-oriented.
I like to break everything down into specific steps and have it all organized in one central place.
I like to have a process. I don’t rush into things without knowing where I’m going, how I’m going to get there, and why I think it’s the best way to do it.
I’m a self-starter. I can work on things with very little supervision. That’s because I create a detailed plan and I’m very systematic about making sure I do things right the first time through.”
I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
Explain Your Process
Most employers rarely hear this from a job candidate. Applicants like to talk about what they’ve accomplished, but not why they were able to do so.
As an employer, I interviewed and hired hundreds of people. I knew that new graduates rarely had specific job related experience and were going to be given all kinds of different projects. What I wanted to know was what their process was for doing them.
That’s what planning is – a process for accomplishing a goal quickly and efficiently with as few surprises as possible. Planning eliminates uncertainty. It defines where you are going and exactly how you’re going to get there.
Convince an employer that you can do that and they’ll trust you to do anything.
Start Building Your Planning Skills. Now!
Treat every class you take as a project. Set a goal of achieving the highest grade you are capable of and create a plan to achieve it.
Do a study plan. Take your time and think it through.
Know your time.
Know your tasks.
Know the when, where, and how of getting things done.
It will pay off, now and in the future.