Are College Grads Unprepared For the Job Market?

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Are college grads unprepared for the job market? According to a report by NPR, it would seem so. They recently covered a study conducted by York College in Pennsylvania that shows many graduates who are unprepared to tackle the job market.

Because of the results of the study, the administration of York College decided to put in place a program designed to teach job skills as part of their liberal arts degree program. They have brought in executives from some of the area's largest employers to give presentations on job success skills in order to combat the problem. From the article:

"What we found was that there are a set of qualities, characteristics that these people would like to see in new college graduates," says David Polk, a York College professor. "Unfortunately, they tend to be lacking."
“Those qualities include the ability to communicate and listen respectfully, motivation to finish a task and attention to appearance. But Polk says researchers pointed to one area where recent graduates stand out: "There's a sense of entitlement that we've picked up on, where people think they're entitled to become, let's say, president of the company within the next two years; they're entitled to five weeks of vacation.'”
What are some of the skills that employers found lacking in these soon-to-be graduates? Here are a few tips they are passing along:

  • Dress Professionally- In a professional environment, dressing the part is expected. In college it doesn't matter if you show up for lectures in a t-shirt and shorts. In an office, however, it will most likely get you fired. Don't make the mistake of thinking that jobs where the dress code is business casual, or just plain old casual, you don't need to show up for work looking clean and well put together.

  • Don't expect vacation and bonuses - College graduates often expect to be given several weeks of vacation time and an executive salary soon after being hired. Please keep in mind that entry-level jobs in any field are often the least fun and the worst-paid. Grunt work is typically passed down the ladder and the people on the bottom are the ones who have to do it. They high salary and lucrative benefits package is something you have to earn after years of hard work.

  • Don't think you can multitask - When you are working, turn off your cell phone. Don't think that you will be able to talk to your friends on the phone, text message and post updates on Twitter while doing your job. Unless it is part of your job description, many employers will frown on that sort of behavior and can even fire you for it.

  • Communicate respectfully - If you are someone who is accustomed to negotiating with professors for better grades or generally charming your way through college, you are going to be disappointed by the workplace. Most of the time, your supervisor won't care and will be more interested in seeing results than they will be in negotiating anything.

  • Watch your language - In college, often students adopt a much more casual tone with their peers and professors alike. In the workplace, it is important to treat co-workers with respect and avoid using profanity.

Being prepared for the workplace is an important skill, and one that many students may not be equipped for. The bright side is that you can set yourself apart from the pack of other recent graduates by preparing for your future career and understanding the finer points of professional behavior.

Are you ready to start your career? Check out CollegeJobBank.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.


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