Majority of Students Unprepared for Work –

Though recent college graduates may exhibit academic preparedness, it does not mean students are ready to enter the workforce, finds a new study by the Career Advisory Board – established by DeVry University – and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

The national survey titled Effectively Counseling Graduating Students includes responses from college career services directors and examines the use and effectiveness of college career centers.

Nearly 47% of respondents feel the majority of their students will be well prepared to succeed in their first fulltime job after graduation, if given the chance. However, only 24% feel the majority of students have the tools and skills necessary to find that job.

The challenge of the college career center is to find a way to not only prepare students to think seriously about their career options, but obtain the necessary skills to market themselves to potential employers.

Nearly 80% of respondents believe their career counseling centers are the most effective resource available to students in searching for and locating jobs. Additionally, respondents find the counseling most effective when conducted one-on-one with adequate follow-ups. Nearly 70% say they will choose to either increase one-on-one counseling and/or follow-ups.

Almost 42% cite lack of available staff and 34.4% cite lack of student motivation to use available resources at career services centers as the biggest hurdles in successfully counseling students to enter the job market. The majority, at 77%, feel that the greatest obstacle to overcome is getting students to understand the effort required to be successful in searching and competing for a job.

The best way to increase student interaction with the career center, according to 44.7% of respondents, is to require students to attend career preparation classes.

NACE and the Career Advisory Board offers the following tips for recent college graduates to prepare for entering the workforce:

  • Expand network.Conduct informational interviews with mentors in their mid-twenties who can provide advice on how to most effectively position their background and experience in a specific field.
  • Customize resume. Review sample resumes in their desired field and craft them in a way that will interest an employer immediately. Also, customize the resume with keywords from their target position’s job description.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse quickly and succinctly communicating results from past jobs or internships, always asking: “why was this organization better off because I worked there?”
  • Seek guidance. Practice interviewing with a coach or career services professional to learn the ap­propriate level of formality and insightful feedback on what skills and experience to emphasize as well as do’s and don’ts.
  • Show enthusiasm. Present themselves as can-do enthusiastic employees who are humble and eager to learn.
  • Consult resources. Review expert materials on transitioning from college to career including books, articles, DVDs and blogs. Learn how to convey the right first impression, understand ex­pectations, acquire important transferable skills, manage stress and negativity, and add value to organizations.

Follow Valerie Jones on Twitter @ValerieJonesCMN