5 things your students don't know about the job search

Helping students gain a better understanding of workplace needs and hiring processes is essential to setting them up for success, Jill Tipograph writes for Forbes.

Tipograph is co-founder of Early Stage Careers, which provides students and recent college graduates with career coaching.

It's not really students' fault that they have misconceptions about the job market, she writes. Not only do employer needs change rapidly, but also students may not have received enough guidance from parents and advisors. To successfully find a job they'll be happy in, students will have to start seeing things from an employer's perspective and dispel any false assumptions they may have in the process.

According to Tipograph, here are five things your students probably don't know about the job search:

1: A degree alone isn't enough

Many employers want graduates to demonstrate specific abilities they've learned during their time in college or at internships, according to a report Tipograph cites from recruiting software firm iCIMS.

This might involve supplementing curricula to ensure they involve the most in-demand skills, or partnering with employers to provide on-campus job simulations—both of which helped Lake Area Technical Institute to achieve a 99% employment rate for its grads.

2: Being able to use Snapchat doesn't mean you have digital skills

Often students think that just because they've scratched the surface of several different kinds of technical skills, they're ready for the job market. But Tipograph recommends they dig deeper into each job they're applying for to determine just how much expertise employers are looking for within each listed skill.  

This even applies when the job posting asks for skills that might appear deceptively common, such as using spreadsheets. Nearly six out of 10 millennials lack basic technology skills such as sorting, finding, and emailing data from a spreadsheet, according to a study from Change the Equation, a cohort of education organizations and businesses.

Prepare low-income students for the job market

3: A great academic record and brand-name school isn't a golden ticket

Students may overestimate how far a pedigreed school or high GPA will take them, Tipograph writes. While employers do value any demonstration of hard work, these things won't automatically get them the job, she argues.

Tipograph recommends helping students focus on other aspects of their qualifications, such as internships, volunteer work, and campus leadership experience.

4: Even though a job is entry-level, it still might require work experience

Students who are job-hunting may start to believe that just because an employer puts in a job description that recent graduates should apply, or that no experience is required, that not having any work experience is alright. But they're wrong, Tipograph writes. Around 70% of recruiters believe internships are more valuable than a student's GPA, according to the iCIMS report.

Even then, not all internships are created equal. Paid internships are much more likely to lead to job offers than unpaid internships.

5 common pieces of bad career advice given to students

5: You should prepare for job interviews as much as you prepare for exams

Some students believe that they can just walk into an interview and do well without preparation—or that if you've prepared for one interview, you've prepared for them all. Instead, students should know that being successful during an interview requires lots of background research, on everything from the person interviewing them, to the organization's mission, and of course the positon they've applied for, Tipograph writes.

While 90% of students say they have great interview skills, their employers beg to differ. According to Tipograph, with the right preparation, your students will get the job offers they deserve (Tipograph, Forbes, 9/6).

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