/ Asked by Hui-hua
Besides professional skills, how can students prepare themselves to take the position as a leader of different levels at a company?
Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Monday, July 27, 2015
This is a great question!  Leadership skills can be demonstrated in a number of ways and taking an active role in leading student organizations and groups is a great way to develop and showcase your leadership experience.  Taking the lead in managing class project teams also helps to develop critical leadership skills especially because you do not have authority over the other team members and you must build your influencing skills to ensure that the team accomplishes the project goals.  Not all leadership competencies are developed by managing others and there are many opportunities to continue developing your leadership skills.  As you begin to transition to the workplace, keep in mind that most entry level positions are not leader roles and you will want to continue to develop your leadership capabilities at your new employer and one good way to do that is to seek out new opportunities such as special projects and informal mentoring of peers.   
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Monday, July 27, 2015
Your question is a great one with a really simple answer: experience. Yes, skills are important, but even more important is your demonstrated experience learning, using and honing those skills that employers want to see most - especially for a leadership role. For a student, experience comes from a variety of sources, but let’s start with some basics.

Are you working while going to school? You’re gaining some immediate job cred you can take with you to future roles, assuming you take advantage and learn and grow from the job, no matter how small. Are you involved in student government, academic clubs or sports? That debate team experience shows critical thinking and your time spent being treasurer of the Spanish club shows you have experience paying attention to details. Do you stay involved with charitable or civic groups? It could be that fundraiser you help with every year is how you became so adept with logistics or project planning.

Ultimately, the experience can come from anywhere as long as you can draw a line to how that experience helped prepare you for the role in which you’re interested. If you start making a list and connecting the dots you’re bound to come up with more than a few examples that will help bolster your background. Best of luck!
Answered by Heather, Hiring Expert at The Hershey Company, on Thursday, July 30, 2015
You can do a variety of things to help you prepare to take a leadership path.
Here are some ways to gain experience & show your management that you are interested:
  • Volunteer to mentor an intern
  • Be vocal on projects you are a part of
  • Motivate people on your team – take a cheerleader approach
  • Read leadership books
  • Attend seminars and/or lunch & learns.  I've see through The Hershey Company's BRG's guest speakers or lunch & learns to help employees gain insights into taking the next step into leadership.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
– President John Quincy Adams 
Answered by Courtney, Hiring Expert at ADP, on Thursday, August 6, 2015
Great question!  My initial thought is consider getting your professional MBA after a few years of experience.  For the more near term, I would identify a mentor that could help guide your career and assist in making some strong connections with leaders.  I would raise your hand for projects/stretch assignments that would give you some exposure to upper management as well.  Being visible within your organization will make a difference.  
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