I heard a speaker make this analogy at a conference last year, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would make a good presentation for our annual career fair. I also thought it would make a good exercise for my supervision class.
It is important to realize that two people with exactly the same skill set can be miles apart when it comes to soft skills. Given the unemployment rate, and hundreds of applications for each job opening, it is crucial to set yourself apart from the pack. With all other things being equal, great soft skills and attention to detail can be the things that move your resume to the top of the pile.
For the career fair presentation, we first looked at what employers consider important in a potential new employee.
- Team player
- Good communicator
- Problem solver
- Good leader
- Good work ethic
- Positive attitude
- Superman and his counterpart Clark Kent are both good team players, though Superman works very well alone. He is a good communicator, but does keep a couple of secrets. He has good problem solving skills. Superman is a good leader, though Clark Kent is not as assertive. He is professional, has a good work ethic, and a positive, get-it-done attitude.
- Hancock, the group decided, needed to be looked at in a before and after context. Looking at him in the beginning, he was not a good communicator or leader. He wasn't very professional nor did he present a positive attitude. He could be a good problem solver, but his solutions were not always executed well. (i.e. He save the beached whale and hoisted it back into the ocean, but it landed on a boat which sank and left the passengers flailing in the water.) His work ethic tended to ebb and flow.
Back to our comparison of Superman vs. Hancock, we looked at how Hancock fared at the end of the movie. He changed, matured, became a better listener, and more compassionate and scored much better on our character evaluation. It was also important to realize you're not locked into who you are right now. Everyone can change and improve.
After the exercise, one student said that he realized he needed to be more involved outside of the classroom next year during his senior year. His goal was to remove the blinders and get involved in clubs and activities that he could add to a resume, and that would also help prepare him for college and those college applications.