Drew over at The Marketing Minute just wrote a blog post called "Help me give college grads a fighting chance." He starts with:
It's Spring. The birds will soon be chirping, the flowers blooming and the college grads descending like locusts on every marketing agency, marketing department and media outlet. They all want one thing -- their first real job.
I remember how scary it was. 20+ years later, I shake my head at the mistakes the grads make while trying to vie for my attention. So I decided we (yes WE) could give them a gift that will put that digital camera to shame. We can help them get that job.
He's asking for advice from people who have been there and I've decided to oblige with 15 more words of advice from hiring managers.
1. The degree you have completed represents that you were able to focus on one long term project and complete it successfully. Whether you have an English, Business, or Social Work degree, they will all fit into almost any profession one way or another.
2. The velocity of change has sped up to an amazing pace. It's important to be able to roll with the punches, learn new things, and be able to communicate your ideas faster, more clearly, than ever before. In order to make it in the workplace of the future, you need to be make yourself outsource proof. Learn lots of skills, and be able to relate all of those skills back to the business. You'll never be able to outsource proof your job, but if you are personally outsource proof, you're far ahead of most of your peers. And most importantly, it's not what you know, it's not who you know, it's who knows you. Make yourself known as an expert in your field, and you'll go far.
3. It is important today to be curious. Start each day or each project with two words,"What If." I don't look for steady, loyal employees. I look for quirky dreamers that create and innovate.
The next 12 are continued when you click through...
4. Your major will give you a path, at first. It's not the end-all-be-all. Selling is selling, engineering is engineering, accounting is accounting... It's your skill set that takes you to the next level. Pay your dues and learn all you can. And if you didn't have any business classes, you can pickup a couple of night classes.
5. As college graduates join the workforce, the biggest gift they bring is a new perspective on the issues confronting the business. The trick is to keep bringing new perspective even after working at the same place for a long time. Your activities outside the office can be an important part of your contribution at the office.
6. As college graduates join the workforce, the biggest gift they bring is a new perspective on the issues confronting the business. The trick is to keep bringing new perspective even after working at the same place for a long time. Your activities outside the office can be an important part of your contribution at the office.
7. Your degree should help you develop the confidence to take your "book knowledge" and integrate what is applicable and to utilize your determination, desire, intelligence and flexibility to succeed at the remaining 30%-90% of your job. The ability to work as part of a team is important but you may have already found that the team (as setup for class assignments) can interfere with accomplishing your goals. You will need the ability to work on your own or, when possible, to assume leadership and be able to help maneuver the group towards its goal when necessary.
8. It's not new but it's still very important: Emotional Quality. Although Intellectual Quality is still important, Emotional Quality and stability is essential in todays demanding environment. In today's fast track companies need employees that can count on. Be one. Improve yourself. Learn goal setting and time management techniques. Become reliable. Believe in yourself and the future will bring you anything you want!
9. You should be prepared to sell yourself, even when your skills aren't a perfect match. I designed my current job with my boss on a napkin at a local cafe. He saw the need, liked the idea and created the position. Do what YOU want to do, and you'll be an asset to many organizations.
10. The work place has changed drastically since I started with the present company I am with 10 years ago. Adaptability and change are essential. Many people I know do not use the college major they worked so hard at, however they did learn other skills such as analytical thinking, communication, and logical decision making. It is those items that have carried my colleagues through their careers.
11. You have to have an eye for opportunity and be very creative. There is not a business out there who isn't looking to pay someone very well who can solve their problems..lower their expenses...or increase their sales. Find a way to any of the above and you will be paid handsomely.
12. It is easy to beat out the competition if you carry yourself well, demonstrate that you take life and work seriously, dress conservatively (unless in fashion industry), and have GREAT communication skills. Add the above to a positive attitude and you'll fly at most things in life. As practical as the list above is, most people lack in one or more of those areas. Don't discount attitude.
13. People skills are gaining importance over all other skills - even job skills The future workplace will lay emphasis on efficiency of the whole team rather than individual efficiency
14. The days of learning one skill and staying in a job using that skill are LONG gone. You may have many jobs and even careers over the course of your life, so you have to keep your skills current and not depend on a company for lifetime security or retirement benefits. This means retirement planning at a very early age. You must also be prepared to "go to school" for the rest of your life, but not in a traditional sense. By this, I mean that the business world changes so quickly, that one must have the ability to adapt and change along with it. This means constant study and updating your skills. Businesses (and successful employees) will always be adapting new technologies, conforming to new legislation, using new tools & incorporating new ideas.
15. It is more important than ever to be able to work collaboratively and be able to persuade other people. It's also highly important to be able to work and interact with customers. Workers who don't have customer-facing jobs are going to find it more and more likely to see their jobs outsourced.