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Career lions

Tools for the starting #CAREERLION

Tools for the starting #CAREERLION

Starting your career is one of the most exciting milestones in your life. While graduating from college and university prepare you content wise for the job you want. Very little is taught about how to actually land a job and what to do after you’ve been hired. This article will, not only be useful for the starters among us, but also as a healthy reminder to sharpen the axe for the people that have been working for quite some time already. Now without further ado, I present you the books that teach about the most crucial tools for the starting career lion.


If I could only give you one tip, this would be it: develop your emotional intelligence. Where your IQ is more or less fixed when you reach adulthood, your empathy quotient or EQ is something that can be developed throughout one’s entire life. As Travis Bradberry describes in his book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, EQ is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and other. It is your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships. Four core EQ skills can be identified:

1.     Self-awareness

2.     Self-management

3.     Social awareness

4.     Relationship management

Researches have shown that people with a higher EQ and relatively lower IQ earn more than people with the same scores but the other way around. Every point of higher EQ has been related to $1.300 more annual income. As for myself, I thought it was very useful to get acquainted with this subject when I was applying for graduation internships. I get anxious at the thought of job interviews, so in preparation I came across Bradberry’s book. Commonly asked in job interviews is the STAR-method. With this method is asked about a concrete situation, what your task was, how you acted and what the result of this was. Being aware of the whole concept of emotional intelligence made it easier for me to reflect at my own behaviour and apply this to the STAR-method. If you would like to get an indication of what your EQ score would be you can do a simple test here.


The way you would like to come across can differ from the way you are perceived by peers. People rarely make decisions as the result of long deliberation, therefore first impressions count. In You, Inc. Beckwith and Clifford explain the art of selling yourself by giving short and concrete examples that can occur in real life. It is important to come across the way you intend to as Frankel would say in Nice girls don’t get the corner office: “A personal brand is a promise of performance that creates expectations in its audience. Done well, it clearly communicates the values, personality, and abilities of the person behind it.” Curious for more about personal branding? Read this article!


While You, Inc. is focussed on how to act in order to present yourself, it is also important to take into account how you treat others. In this case, your co-workers. Assuming the plan is to work a full time job, your co-workers are the people you spend at least 40 hours a week with. Next to them being the people you spend most of your time with, dealing with co-workers has to stay professional and is not as non-committal as other social connections might be. In How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie portrays the most important principles of how to be a likable person. My personal favourite, is the chapter called “A sure way of making enemies – and how to avoid it”, which teaches you about what NOT to do.


During your student life, you might have glorified your dream job. Something that you might not have considered back then is how rough it can get at times. A good mind set to have is to keep going, even when things are hard and uncomfortable. Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way teaches three ways on how to handle adversity. Firstly, by changing one’s perception on how an obstacle is experienced. Secondly, he addresses what the right action to take is in dealing with life’s obstacles. And the third and last way Ryan describes to handle adversity related on manners to channel your inner will to overcome obstacles. Reading this book is truly motivating and inspiring. Not only for career purposes, but also for general life matters. I definitely recommend this book to all #careerlions out there.

I am still in the first year of my career. To be quite frank there, each week (or better said, each day) includes moments where I do not know to handle that particular situation right away. But these are a few of the tools that have already helped me this year. A remedy that always works? Stay patient, open minded, and do not forget to enjoy your journey. As I continuously strive to grow and learn, I am always on the lookout for tips and tricks. Do you have any recommendations? If so, please do share them in the comments.

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