Today the vast majority of knowledge workers are using LinkedIn to manage their career, so, as a career counselor, it's my job to keep track of what's going on over there.
Recently, LinkedIn published a list of the ten most common words people use on their profiles. These words show what people value in themselves and other people.
4. Extensive experience
5. Track record
8. Problem solving
9. Communication skills
What strikes me about this list is the deep focus on execution. Today, knowledge and industry expertise are relatively easy to get from the Internet. But you can't use the Internet to execute. That's still all on us.
Execution is about ambition and drive and the ability to bounce back.
So, if the big differentiator right now in the workplace is the ability to execute, how do you teach kids to focus on that?
School does a really good job of that. You get an assignment, you get it done. You get a stack of stuff to learn, you learn it. But in the workplace if you need someone to constantly tell you what you should execute then your options are limited to being entry-level or low-level management.
The best education, then, is teaching kids both to generate a plan and execute a plan. The people who can do both will have the highest feeling of self-worth at work. And it will show on their LinkedIn profile—or whatever post-Internet-age thing our kids end up using instead of a resume.
And, this seems like a good time to link to my son's blog post, where he is selling his goat meat. It's an example of execution that makes me smile.