There is a great deal of focus on the challenges associated with young professionals obtaining employment. We are in the midst of a changing employment market, where individuals stay in work longer and roles are being lost to automation. The greatest challenge for our youth today, however, appears to not necessarily be their chosen skill sets. Instead, it’s their understanding of job readiness and willingness to make themselves attractive to employers. Many large organisations run great internship and graduate recruitment programs, however as one multi-national company told me last week, the ability to find those who are actually job ready is growing more challenging each year.
What abilities do youth today need to showcase in order to be classed ‘job ready’?
Communication skills do not mean that they have to be the most extraverted, articulate or capable communicator in the business. What prospective employers need to see is that they are confident in their own communication style and have the maturity to verbally communicate at a professional level, as well as in writing. Remember, once in employment, they will be communicating with a very diverse array of people representing different cultures, experience, beliefs and business levels.
All organisations have a strong brand that they want to uphold and all good organisations know that their employees generally are the face of their business. The way young professionals present themselves to the business, online and offline, will be key to identifying whether they will meet the expectations and culture of the business. Again, organisations are not after people who dress or appear a certain way, rather they are after people who take pride in their appearance and are able to match this to what is required of the job. Hint here, never turn up to an interview in ripped jeans and thongs!
This one is always a challenge for many individuals to demonstrate but having some examples of how they have effectively managed their time would be very helpful. Time management can be demonstrated through the ability to work part time whilst committing to studies, attend sporting events or even juggle volunteering. Most of all, effective time management is clearly demonstrated when they turn up at the interview around 15 minutes before the start time, and are actually prepared for the interview!
Not everyone is a natural born leader and that is OK as many organisations want to see how effective people can work in team environments. The need to work with others is imperative throughout your career so being able to demonstrate how you appreciate the opinion of others, encourage others to participate and be willing to share your own ideas are great ways to demonstrate your collaboration.
As silly or obvious as it may sound, already having some goals to strive towards is a great thing for all individuals looking to start their career. The desire to develop capabilities, to learn and to grow shows great personal courage and commitment; this is something that many organisations seek in prospective employees. Young professionals need to be confident in articulating what it is they would like to achieve in the next 5 years. Be mindful that these goals need to be realistic and respect that early on in anyone’s career, there will be a lot of growth that needs to happen before becoming the CEO!
We need to do what we can to support and help youths develop the skills they need to succeed in their careers. Being employable in the current market is not simply reliant on the level of qualification they hold, or how high their grades were when completing that qualification. Employers need to look for employees that are reliable, committed and talented, and will thus take into account academic and personal capabilities. Share this post with any graduates or young professionals who may be about to make their career debut!