Further Down the Road to Success

Success, your student has graduated! In the past it was enough to teach students interview skills, teach them how to make a resume, and send them off into the big world. But, what can colleges do to ensure students are successful after they land their dream job?

woman throwing her academic hat
Photo by JodyHongFilms / Unsplash

Many colleges have taken on the challenge of teaching their students the skills employers crave. Below is a list that employers say are lacking from their newly acquired college graduates.

  • An expert in their field of study. This is obvious. What comes next may surprise you.
  • Tailored Communication: Employees must be able to use all platforms (phone, text, social media, emails, phone calls, etc.) with the intention of effectively communicating with the recipient.
    Now, add to that the requirement to have this skill on a global level. The world of business is bigger than it used to be.
  • Corporate Understanding: New employees are expected to understand the complex corporate network of their new company, how it functions, who does what, and whom answers to whom. This is expected almost immediately after starting a new job.
  • Adaptability: Graduates must be able to adapt quickly to an ever changing market. Needs must be identified and met with speed, or the market will leave your company behind. This often means acquiring new skills, new rules, and new solutions in an ever changing environment.
  • New Ideas: Employers don’t want automatons who simply press buttons. They want fresh blood and new ideas to keep them alive.
  • Critical Thinking: Employees need to identify and resolve issues, without being told. The same answer yesterday may not apply to today’s market. Think tank classes can help students in this area.
  • Collaboration: Team work and collaboration is imperative. This can be particularly challenging to millennials who are often secluded. Students must also know how to measure success.
  • Self-Motivated: Most employers have discovered that micromanaging is time-consuming and counterproductive. These days staff members are expected to work unsupervised and get the job done.
  • Work Ethic: The definition of work ethic is the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward (or in this case, a paycheck). Often work ethic begins as a young child with household chores. How do you instill this in an adult? Encourage students to engage in Federal Work Study Programs. Volunteer work is also beneficial and builds character.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Let’s say Joe Newguy can do all the above items. If he is rude, cold, or unapproachable no one will want to work with him. Or, Joe Newdude doesn’t know how to properly address someone from another country or culture. He could unknowingly offend someone. The media backlash alone could close your business down entirely!

When I entered the workforce 20 years ago the above skills were for ‘higher ups’ or company leaders. As the market and technologies have changed so have expectations. Let’s do everything we can to prepare our college graduates to truly live the dream. Besides, these people will be running my nursing home one day.