By Colleen Bulman ’93, Manager, Human Resources, Cape Cod Healthcare
I recently came across an article listing the top qualities employers look for in new college graduates. As I read the list it dawned on me that, yes, I definitely developed and strengthened these skills in college, but many of these skills were introduced to me much earlier in my education. I actually began developing these skills in seventh grade at Falmouth Academy.
The article listed the following as the top skills:
- Ability to work well in teams
- Understanding of science and technology
- Ability to write and speak well
- Ability to think clearly about complex problems
- Ability to analyze a problem to develop workable solutions
- An understanding of global context in which work is now done
- Ability to apply knowledge and skills in a new setting
- Ability to understand numbers and skills in a new setting
- A strong sense of ethics and integrity
If the above does not epitomize the Falmouth Academy graduate, then I do not know what does.
Falmouth Academy is known for providing a tremendous education in science, math and English to name a few, but as I read this article, I think it was the social aspects and actual character-building lessons and attributes that made me reflect back on Falmouth Academy. The above are being instilled in students from day one and we may be so focused on preparing for college that we do not even realize that we are also contributing to building “future real-world employees”.
Let’s take something as routine as All-School Meeting. Students at Falmouth Academy are given the opportunity daily to stand up in a room full of people – people who are older, younger, teachers, and administrators – and make an announcement about something they may be working on, organizing, selling … or as simple as a friend celebrating a birthday. In these moments students are learning how to speak clearly and communicate effectively with others, thus developing social skills and gaining self-confidence.
As a Human Resources Manager, these are the characteristics that come through in the first few minutes of an interview. You can attend a prestigious university and get a tremendous education, but if you cannot communicate clearly, I am going to question your ability to get along with others in your department and the organization. I need to be sure that you, as the employee, can clearly communicate your ideas to your colleagues and managers. When hiring we are often looking for people who will not shy away from coming forward with new ideas and better processes. Having the ability to communicate clearly is a key to being a successful employee.
In regards to working well with others, let’s take teamwork. Falmouth Academy students learn very early in their education how to team-build. Looking back on my Falmouth Academy days I am often reminded of the many times I spent working in a team. We would try and solve problems in class whether it was in a science class testing a theory, or an elective like Model United Nations, or something fun and carefree like working on a team with students in all different grades to build a sand sculpture on Marconi Beach. Seventh graders can find themselves collaborating with a senior on an all-school activity. Falmouth Academy – from the beginning of the education journey – teaches students to not shy away from working with others who may be older, or have more seniority or experience than they do. These are lessons and skills that stick with you and only continue to develop in college and beyond.
Falmouth Academy prepares students not only for successful transitions to college and the skills needed to flourish, but for real-world employment as well.
As a graduate of Falmouth Academy I say “thank you” for this, and as an employer who hires Falmouth Academy graduates I say “thank you” for those early years of molding our “real-world employees!”
Bonus Blog: Caroline Cotto ’10 spins the scientific method she learned at Falmouth Academy to land job interviews that have secured her spots in a White House program and as a Fulbright Fellow, not to mention with her new employer, HubSpot. Read it here.