Myth #7: College will teach you how to land a great job.
Reality - College has clearly not taught people how to land a great job. You have to learn this through experience.
Everyone assumes that going to college will prepare you for the job search. This adage couldn’t be farther from the truth! Not only does college not teach you the skills for landing a job it can also instill a false confidence that leads many grads down a bad path.
For some time now the job market and education have been diverging but it is now reaching a new level. Mcgraw Hill conducted a survey in 2018 comparing the attitudes and experiences of recent grads with those of their potential bosses. Their findings were not at all encouraging.
First, the survey found that only 1 in 4 college grads felt well prepared for the workforce. This number was down 5% from 2017 and shows that more students are realizing that they do not have all the skills employers are looking for.
While this stat may seem dire it only accounts for people feeling “well prepared” so it could be an issue with the question. The next statistic shows a greater picture of the situation.
To gain a better understanding, Mcgraw Hill asked both graduates and employers if they felt confident about the graduating classes professionalism and work ethic entering the labor force.
Over three quarters of students felt extremely confident in their skills entering the workplace while only 43% of potential bosses were confident in the same pool of students. This disconnect is one of the major drivers behind the struggle many graduates face during the job search.
What are students missing when applying to jobs and how can work experience fill the gap?
Arguably one of the most important aspects of professionalism people need is the ability to network. Learning how to network effectively can do more for your career than anything on a test will, yet many students lack an understanding of what it even is.
Many think of networking as simply laying the groundwork for a job or business deal but this is simply not the case. While you may picture a country club smoking room when you think of networking which can intimidate graduates, the reality is that networking is about establishing and building long-term professional relationships that will help you throughout your life. You probably have networked already and don’t even realize it. Have you gone to a professor after hours for help and got to talking with them? They probably even offered to put you in contact with some people if you were interested in their field. That’s networking!!! All you need to do to network effectively is show genuine interest in another person’s role. This connection will give you insight into the working world, and it could even help you get a job offer at a related company or even a promotion down the line, though this should never be at the front of your mind while meeting somebody.
In the same vein as networking you will also have access to mentors you’d never encounter at college. While interning you will be working with people in different stages of their career who you can connect with the same way you would anybody else. The difference is that these connections will allow you to lean on someone with more experience for advice and insights into the industry you’re interested in. A good mentor is an invaluable resource that can help guide you through the professional world, especially when you’re trying to adjust. Additionally they can help guide you in choices as you progress in your career.
Finally, the type of thinking being taught on campus is entirely different from what companies are expecting of their new hires. A Gallup panel found that academics and employers couldn’t agree upon the idea of “critical thinking”, instead finding that employers want problem-solvers while schools train “critical thinkers”. This disconnect is just another reason to prioritize getting real world experience over most anything else before applying to the workforce.
Now that you know what you will need to do outside of school to land a great job, how will you go about doing it? Luckily, PathMatch offers resources, such as career exploration, skill building, a guide to hiring insights at top companies, and resume and cover letter editing to help you throughout multiple points of your journey to a great job.
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