College grads need ‘real-world’ skills before they can get ‘real’ jobs

by Grace

From Why Your College Grad Can’t Find a Job, career advisor Allison Cheston:

The hallmark of someone who had found career success after graduation from college turned out to be early internships. And that typically meant sustained experience throughout the year, not just summers.

Limiting your focus to academics is a mistake.

Many of them, often with encouragement from their parents, have had their heads down doing schoolwork instead of taking advantage of internships offered on campus or, more creatively, developed by the students themselves.

Yes, maybe a parent found them a summer internship through contacts or within their own profession, regardless of whether that was a particular interest area for their child. And that is better than nothing.

Students become more valuable to employers by spending time in the real world.

But many have never been in an office setting and had the experience of having to work hard for a difficult boss. They may not understand the sense of urgency that permeates the fabric of most work environments, and they may misread the cues and signals of prospective employers and recruiters as they search for a job.

Can’t we all relate to that?  There’s nothing like a real job with a demanding “unreasonable” boss to learn what’s expected in a work setting.  A student’s first work experience can often be a volunteer position or the most menial of jobs.  The important thing is to get a foot in the door and begin to learn the skills that employers value, starting with the ability to show up on time every day.

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