Does College Prepare You for the Job Market?

Everyone knows that a Bachelor’s degree has pretty much become a prerequisite in the job market.  But did you know that employers are starting to feel like recent graduates are unprepared when it comes to hiring?  According to an article by Karin Fischer published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, employers find candidates with bachelor’s degrees to be under-qualified and ill-prepared.  Many of these employers are blaming colleges for the lack of preparedness, with over 30% ranking them as “fair or poor.”  But why is this?  What are we doing wrong?  And what can we do to fix it?

Fischer states that the breakdown between the goals college degree and the expectations of employers differ in regards to marketability.  She believes that colleges seek to prepare graduates on a broad scale, giving them a wide variety of knowledge and skills, whereas employers want candidates with specialized skills and specific knowledge.  Employers want a college grad to be trained and ready to begin working from day one. 

According to the survey in the article, as well as a survey of employers in the 2013 NACE Job Outlook, the most important (and lacking) skill for recent college grads is the ability to effectively communicate verbally.  Employers are looking for candidates that can speak their mind and give intelligent responses to questions and problems.  These skills are often overlooked, but can be very important in a job setting, as you will most likely be working with a group of people from time to time.  David E. Boyes is quoted in the Chronicle article as having said, “It’s not a matter of technical skill, but of knowing how to think.”  Developing critical thinking skills will allow you to make decisions and express yourself in an effective way. 

Here at UW-Green Bay we offer a wide range of critical thinking course as part of our interdisciplinary approach to education.  Consider taking Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication (Comm-166) and Communication Problems (Comm-200) to develop and hone these marketable skills.  There are also numerous leadership opportunities in student organizations, including Student Government Association, Sigma Tau Delta, and other major related clubs.  Search the UWGB webpage for a list of all orgs offered on campus.  If you want to further develop on-the-job skills, try an internship.  The Career Services office can assist you in searching and applying for internships.  Check out the PRO website to browse local internship options.

The jobs market it always changing; there’s not changing that.  But how we adapt to it is entirely up to us.  Knowing which skills and assets are important to employers can help you better develop skills to meet these growing demands.  Stop by Career Services (SS 1600) to find out more about what you can do to prepare yourself for the jobs market and beyond.

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