Last year, a Gallup survey, which interviewed 32,585 currently enrolled college students at 43 U.S. colleges and universities, shed some light on students’ confidence in their workforce training. Some key findings include:
- Just over a third of students strongly agree that they will graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the job market (34%) and in the workplace (36%).
- Only 53% of college students believe their major will lead to a good job
This paints a pretty bleak picture of the future of college students in the job market and workplace. Personally, I didn’t feel that my college experience had properly prepared my for the workplace. While I attended several career workshops (resume building, cover letter writing, etc.), no class could have taught me how to deal with office politics, ask for a raise, or stand out as a job seeker. Now I know that there’s a lot more that goes into one’s success in the job market and in the workplace than college can teach. That’s why I’ve made a list of skills and traits that almost every employer looks for in a candidate.
Being reliable comes down to these 3 main things: show up on time, deliver on your promises and do a good job. Have an important client meeting? Arrive early and have all the necessary materials ready. Meet all your deadlines without being reminded of the tasks at hand. Do this and do it consistently. Reliability is one of the most desirable traits in a candidate as it shows a strong commitment to the job.
An intrapreneur is defined as “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.” Intrapreneurs are an invaluable resource to a company, and what they do is simply identify a problem and solve it creatively.
Do you notice a flaw in a system you interact with daily? Ask yourself how you can make it better and take the initiative, without necessarily asking for permission, to come up with a solution. Make sure to give yourself time to familiarize yourself with the company and its needs before you dedicate a few hours to creating solutions. Once you’re confident, present the solution to your manager and offer to take it on. Being an intrapreneur not only makes you a bigger part of the organization, but it also makes you a bigger part of it.
How quickly can you adjust to changing environments? As the workplace evolves rapidly, staying nimble is key to overcoming these challenges. If your team suddenly loses a member and you’re tasked with their responsibilities for some time, be ready to take them on, and do them well. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t communicate if you feel overwhelmed. It only suggests you remain flexible, as this makes you even more competitive.
The truth is, you are more likely to enjoy working at a place if there’s a cultural fit. Being aligned with your company’s culture leads to greater job satisfaction, and can help you reach both your professional and personal goals. That’s why it is so important to get a great understanding of a company’s culture before you accept to work there. Throughout the hiring process, learn as much as you can about the company culture. Ask pertinent questions to hiring managers, speak to current employees and get a sense of team dynamics.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Almost every company has adopted this mindset and come to expect this attitude from their staff. Look beyond your workload and try to be a resource to the team. Be willing to jump in when needed and work with colleagues to achieve goals. This not only reflects greatly on you, but it also moves your team forward (which only means better opportunities for everyone).