It’s early September and as graduates head towards their first job, you can almost hear the screeching of breaks as they plough head-first into an unfamiliar world. Students are selected on their potential, indicated by their exam results and interviews, and there is a clear desire from employers to get them started and add value early on.
Once introduced to a company graduates are usually taught the technical aspects of their role which is great, but they are also expected to deliver and add value without being given the necessary business skills. So what can students do before they start their career path to allow them to flourish in the world of work?
Learn who you are
Coming from university, students need to start by learning who they are and what value they can add in the corporate world. They need to speak to as many people as they can, network, and find out what options are out there and what areas might interest them. Research their culture and values and work out if they match. Once they have an idea, go and source casual employment that might relate to that industry so you can get a feel for it at grass roots. This experience is invaluable both from a self-development perspective but so you can refer back to it in future job interviews.
Not everyone is lucky enough to find the right direction first time but the key is to get in the game, gain experience and hear what’s happening out there. If you do find a potential career direction let people know. In general, everyone will want to help or connect you to someone, you just have to be on the ball and ask for advice. These connections will continue to develop throughout your career.
Work on those valuable skills
The hard truth is that businesses exist to make profit and unless you know how to get things done and add value you are not employable over an extended period of time. The fundamentals of business are often left out of training, with the individual being expected to pick them up as they go and learn by trial and error. This can result in them missing opportunities – so they need to learn how to avoid this outcome. They should look to up-skill through courses or experience and learn to create impact, manage stakeholders, run projects, run meetings and add value.
It may be hard work but this is a new world for many and it is extremely powerful to be able to walk into a job with the knowledge of how to run a productive meeting, to which objectives have been set, and then achieve them. Similarly, how useful will a candidate be to a company when they can project manage and keep people on task, adding value at every turn? These are only two examples of skills and behaviours that need to be learnt by everyone in business.
It is at university that students should begin to develop these skills and start to harness their potential. By doing so, they will set themselves apart from other graduates, who are also competing for that one highly sought-after job. They should focus on the things they are not taught at university – the real life, real world, transferable skills they can develop outside of university and take into their first job. The most successful candidates are the ones with drive and a proactive nature, seeking the opportunity to learn and develop skills whenever possible.
Flying Start XP provide students and graduates with essential knowledge, experience and awareness of the business world during a week-long interactive and immersive course. Run by the very best facilitators – including company leaders, psychologists, sports coaches and armed forced trainers – they cover the essential aspects of making graduates business ready.