Time recently published an article called, “The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired.” Commentators often blame the fact that students have taken the wrong major in college or lack sufficient tech skills, but the author of the Time article focuses on another set of problems entirely. It isn’t necessarily a lack of technical facility or academic knowledge that keeps people from getting a job. The problems that employers notice in many college grads – and that college grads often don’t notice themselves – include the following:
- Poor communication skills, both written and oral.
- Weaknesses in problem solving abilities and overall creative thinking.
- An inability to collaborate well with others, which includes keeping the people you work with up-to-date on your progress, dividing up tasks among colleagues, and resolving conflicts in personality.
- Poor organizational skills.
- Difficulties planning out one’s work day and prioritizing different tasks.
- Various unprofessional behaviors, including showing up late and dressing untidily.
- A general lack of motivation that slows people down in their work.
Many companies prefer that applicants complete a meaningful formal internship, as this may provide some proof that they can function well at a job (particularly in an office environment) and that they can work in a professional manner – even though the responsibilities you undertake in an internship wouldn’t necessarily prepare you fully for what you’d do at a full-time job.
When you seek help finding a job, get honest feedback about the way you work with others and how you tackle projects. What can you do to better demonstrate critical thinking, project planning abilities, and interpersonal skills? What areas do you need improvement on? How would your references speak to your work ethic, originality, and professionalism?
Especially if you’re fresh out of college and don’t have a lot of previous job experience (or maybe any), you’ll need to find ways to convince your prospective employers that you aren’t a slacker or a mindless office drone. Don’t assume that a desirable major and some solid technical skills will automatically land you a job; employers need assurance that they’ll get a valuable member on their team.
Contact us for further advice about how to show your future employers that you’re the right candidate in every way.
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