If You’re Not Natural In A Skill You Can Learn It

Learning a new skill is on everyone’s agenda. Whether it’s becoming fluent in a foreign language or simply having something as an asset, skills are undeniably valuable. While being able to teach yourself something instantly is the Facebook community’s most desired superpower, it isn’t all that easy. However, it’s definitely possible.

Firstly, find a skill you are passionate about. What is something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? Forget difficulty levels for now, and go beyond a “just for fun” mindset. Consider the skill as something that will be vital to your life (and anyway, it may be).

Things may be easier if you consider your own skills. Some activities require good memory retention or an ability to accurately follow instructions. If you can already check certain “pre-requisites” off a list, your chances at becoming an expert at your new skill are significantly higher.

Once you’ve picked your skill, set realistic goals. Figure out what your primary motivation is. Do you want to learn to draw because a university elective requires it? Or do you want to impress a colleague? Whatever the case, make these goals meaningful to you, however shallow they may seem. Your bar should be at a defined level of expertise. If you want to become knowledgeable in a language, are you seeking full comprehension or get-by conversation? Gauge your own strengths and weaknesses in regards to this particular skill.

If you’re training yourself to become proficient in something you’ve never done before, chances are, you want to learn fast. If you can’t, don’t let your pace discourage you. On the ground, sloths move 2 meters a minute. It’s a stretch, but they get the job done. Manage your expectations and also set a deadline. When will this skill be most useful to you? Figure things out far in advance. If your chosen skill is writing fiction and you’re keen on entering a short story contest, don’t hesitate. Dive in!

Break down the skill. If you’re into photography, you’re going to have to learn the ropes of using cameras and editing tools. Skills can be two or even three-fold — making a list of what you have to tackle will come in handy. It’s kind of like throwing together a deconstructed meal. Be visual about it. Build graphs and brain maps (they may sound pretty juvenile, but they are useful — I promise!).

Remember, practice makes perfect. Make it your mantra and remember: consistency is your friend. You can learn a perfect Pachelbel Canon on the piano but fail to retain certain strokes because you don’t practice enough. On that note, don’t overwork yourself. It’s the same principle as studying too hard for an exam. While it’s great for your short-term memory, the stress will tire your mind.

Every now and then, you’ll feel like giving up. “It’s too difficult,” is a phrase that nobody is alien to. Identify your pain points. What do you know you’ll struggle with? If it’s hand-eye coordination or remembering sequences, figure out the best way to overcome these struggles. Most importantly, remember your motivation.

Maybe there is a charm that comes with being a natural at something. However, it doesn’t mean making the effort is any less attractive!

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From Rookie To Pro: Acing Job Interviews

The real-world stage through the eyes of a fresh grad is often exciting and simultaneously terrifying. When balancing budgets isn’t creeping up anyone’s sleeve, it’s the unforgiving task of job hunting. True enough, the perfect 9-to-5 may eventually roll around, but won’t be yours until after acing the dreaded interview. It’s daunting, undeniably, but totally doable with a lot of preparation and a little bit of charisma.

For some, the dream isn’t necessarily the job itself, but the agency. Still, familiarizing yourself with the role is always the first key move to a promising career. Know what tasks you will be performing — even the nitty, gritty, nothing-to-brag-about, seemingly menial duties like filing papers. And anyway, if you’re applying to a company like Google, filing papers may be a lot more significant than anyone lets on. All that information has to go somewhere!

It may seem the most trivial aspect of an interview, but make the effort to dress the part. Design or advertising groups may appear casual, but looking professional never does any harm. Wear something you feel confident in — maybe a statement piece such as a bright necklace or tie. Keep in mind not to get too carried away. Interviewers don’t want to be distracted by a penguin-printed suit.

Here’s the kicker: know the company. Head to toe. Left to right. Top to bottom. A job interview might be about your strengths, but there’s no harm in gauging how you’ll fit in in relation to your potential work place. A CEO might also throw you a curveball with statistics or facts that you want to be prepared for. Simply knowing who a company’s founder is may work greatly in your favor. Of course, your knowledge should exist beyond the basics.

Most interview questions are fairly basic: how would you describe yourself in three words? What can you bring to the table? What are your strengths and weaknesses? To you, and even occasionally to the interviewers, these questions can feel a little monotonous. The solution? Be creative but not outlandish. Add a touch of humor to your responses but only when it’s relevant. Knock knock jokes aren’t always going to fly with businesslike professional. When the tough questions come around, be prepared. Make a list of any possible queries an interviewer might have and how you’d go about answering them.

Most importantly, answer honestly. If you encounter a brain fart, ask for half a minute to allow yourself to recover. Never panic, as it leads mostly to rambling and, at times, tears. Be honest about your past experiences and how you might’ve learned from mistakes. Editors are fairly eagle-eyed — they probably know you more than you let on.

As tacky as it seems, be yourself. You may be working with these people for years and you don’t want to have to put up a front. Anyway, being whoever you want to be is reserved for online personas. The real you is what companies are after.

Sure, on the whole, interviews are stressful. But the relief of a job well done is just about the best reward.

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