Skills for the 21st Century
Succeeding in the Workplace
Christina Canavan
April 22, 2009
Agenda
 Introduction and Background
 Generation Y
 College Bound
 In the Workplace
 Wrap up
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Introduction and Background
 Graduate of Aurora High School and Miami University of Ohio
 Interned with Deloitte & Touche LLP (Deloitte) between Junior and Senior year in
college
 Started with Deloitte in Cleveland
 Transferred to Washington D.C. after a year to seek out better market
opportunities in specialization area
 Worked for Deloitte since graduating, except for year and a half when left for
another consulting firm
 Presentation is based off of my personal experiences, biases and work
environment
 Sought input from recruiters, but not a recruiter myself
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Generation Y
 Perceptions – the Good and the Bad
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Upbeat
Civic-focused
Technologically sophisticated
Sense of entitlement
Inability to take criticism
Flounder without guidance or supervision
 What’s the reality?
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Depends on the person and their ability to adapt, change and learn
 What’s being done to address the influx of Gen Y in the workplace?
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Organizational Policies
Management Structures
Training Initiatives
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College Bound
 College is a four year resume building experience
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Become involved with your college community from day one
Take advantage of all resources
 Professors
 Career Fairs
 Counselors
 Professional Fraternities
 Relationship building or networking
Participate in career fairs even as a freshman – learn how to represent yourself and speak to
recruiters
Seek out internships at large companies or firms
GPAs and second languages are a differentiator
Be open to changing majors
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College Bound
 Building a solid resume
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Resume building starts from day one on campus
Representation of yourself
 Polished
 Professional
 Speak to your abilities
Treat resume as a personal marketing campaign
 What sets you apart from your peers?
 What will make you stand out to recruiters?
Keep it current – leave high school in the past
Understand the position and company where you are applying and tweak resume as necessary to
emphasize relevant skills
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College Bound
 Special Note to Parents
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Let your child drive their choices and career
Do not call employers on behalf of your child to ask questions about offers, salary, positions, etc
 Recruiters cannot discuss that information
 You will be harming your child’s future employment opportunities, not helping
Stay away from becoming ‘that parent’!
Skills for the 21st Century: Succeeding in the Workplace
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In the Workplace
 Overall themes
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Take responsibility for yourself and your career
Seek out opportunities in all situations
Set yourself apart from your peers
 Key Workplace Guidance
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Technology
Writing Skills
Evaluation Criteria
Know your Boss
Attitude
Self Promotion
Work/Life Balance
Extracurricular
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In the Workplace
 Technology
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Regardless of industry or specialization, know the basics:
 Word
 Excel
 Powerpoint
Be knowledgeable and aware of technology pertinent to your
area of expertise
Know the difference between what is acceptable for social
communications vs. professional communications
 Texting and Instant Messaging
Utilize technology to make communications more efficient, but
don’t overlook the value of a face to face conversation
Be aware of social networking sites and that they are visible to
everyone…including current and future employers
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In the Workplace
 Writing Skills
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Ability to clearly communicate thoughts or ideas and express yourself is a critical skill set for any
industry or specialization
Proper grammar and technical writing may be one of your most valuable assets
 Investigate professional or technical writing courses in college or trainings offered by
employers
Be aware of the difference between professional or technical writing vs. conversational writing
Email may be a more informal method of communication outside of work, but the workplace is
different
 Treat all communications as if they will be graded – self QA your emails before hitting send
Don’t put it in writing unless you are OK with your mom reading it
 Emails, instant messages, and text messages are permanent!
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In the Workplace
 Evaluation Criteria
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Evaluations will occur throughout the year or review period
 What is the evaluation criteria?
 How will you be compared to your peers?
 What will make you stand out from your peers?
Treat evaluations like resumes – how are you building up your
evaluation from the beginning of the year or review period?
If unclear on evaluation criteria, ask for clarification
Seek feedback throughout the year on your performance, both
formally and informally
Be open and willing to act on feedback and counseling points
Understand that you will most likely be compared to your peers
and ranked
Keep in mind that the result of evaluations have a direct
correlation to earning potential
Take responsibility for your career and future success
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In the Workplace
 Know your Boss
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Starting from the bottom, you will have more than one boss
 Find out who your bosses are
 Work with them to meet their expectations and prioritize work
 Know your bosses preferences for email, communication, writing style, instant messaging, etc.
– Get to know your boss personally and build a strong relationship – take advantage of them being
your biggest advocate
– If unsure, ask for guidance and
prioritization on tasks
– You will not always like your boss,
but find a way to make it work
 Cliché applies – don’t bite the
hand that feeds you
 Take the responsibility to build
and develop that relationship in
order to ensure your success
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In the Workplace
 Attitude
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Attitude will determine how others perceive you in the workplace
 Have a can-do attitude
 Be dedicated to your work and achieving success
 Display a positive mental attitude
 Ask for guidance when needed
 Volunteer for work to stand out from your peers
Be open to feedback and willing to make changes to your behaviors
 No one is perfect – constructive feedback is necessary to continue growing and developing
 Be willing to accept the feedback and make a change
Personalities vary in the workplace, along with work styles
 You will not like everyone you work with, but take the responsibility to find a way to make it
work and develop those relationships
Disappointments are going to happen, but how you deal with them will be the true test
 Find out what you need to be doing differently, make changes and move forward – don’t focus
on the past
All situations have an opportunity – the challenge is finding a way to make it work for you
Skills for the 21st Century: Succeeding in the Workplace
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In the Workplace
 Self Promotion
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No one will be as big an advocate for your success as you will be
 Promote your successes
 Sell yourself and your skills
 Have an elevator speech ready to tell others who you are and what you do
Present yourself how you want others to perceive you
 Look polished and professional
 Be confident and poised
 Develop public speaking skills and solid interpersonal communication
Network with your peers, those above you and those below you
 One of the most important things you can do to help yourself in the long-run
 Peers now will one day be in leadership positions and those relationships will be key
Manage perceptions of yourself
Find the opportunity in all situations to demonstrate your skills and set yourself apart from peers
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In the Workplace
 Work/Life Balance
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Important to have a mix of both work and life
Balance does not mean 50/50 though
 Peak work times will take precedence over life and vice versa
 Understand when work is critical – personal plans will sometimes need to change to
accommodate
 Need to communicate expectations to boss during times when life needs to take precedence
Take advantage of vacation – don’t let it go to waste!
 Extracurriculars
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Be involved in your work community and local community
Show that you do more than work – set yourself apart from your peers
 Philanthropy demonstrates corporate social awareness
 Increases positive perception of yourself
 Know your corporate culture
 Take advantage of resources available to you
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Wrap Up
 In a nutshell….
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College
 Start building your resume from day one
 Represent the best of yourself
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In the workplace
 Leverage technology
 Focus on writing skills and verbal communication
 Understand your evaluation criteria
 Develop a relationship with your boss
 Demonstrate a positive mental attitude
 Feel confident promoting yourself
 Maintain work/life balance
 Remain involved in the community
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Wrap Up
Questions?
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Contact Information
Christina Canavan
Manager
Deloitte & Touche LLP
1001 G St. NW Suite
900 West
Washington, DC 20001
Tel:
+ 1 202 370 2483
Mobile: + 1 571 205 8985
[email protected]
Member of
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Skills for the 21st Century: Succeeding in the Workplace
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