I was also amazed by their level of honesty. Some students had to retake subjects and were struggling to see the journey through, while others cruised without any great sense of the journey beyond tertiary education. A few were not even passionate about their line of study but felt compelled to see it through to please their parents or because it was the right thing to do.
None of this was news to me, I remember feeling the same way. Finishing high school is scary. Finishing university even more so! I’m not going to lecture young people on what they should or should not do beyond university because careers are both planned and emergent. Sometimes the best careers arise from sheer trial and error or happening upon a boss who will take you on a wild adventure that allows you to learn and grow as an independent thinker and high performing professional.
What I can help with are the applications graduates produce for job market entry. It’s not hard to talk about your education or work experience on an application, most young people handle that part well. But when I delve to find out more about the particular strengths of an individual, I am often met by a blank look, silence or an answer that is rattled off but when probed cannot be justified.
It's not enough to list what you are good at. Always ask yourself, “How do I know I am good in these areas?”. When working with graduates, I dig via a series of questions until we find tangible evidence that reveals more depth of thinking and practice. This can be used to personalise the job application, show achievement, and communicate personality and cultural fit. According to Ben Reeves, head of the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE), "Cultural fit is the criteria that is most commonly assessed by employers. Employers are trying to make the best possible evaluation of whether each candidate will be able to hit the ground running and start contributing as quickly as possible."
So how do you show evidence of your skills and attributes in a way that will communicate your cultural fit and make employers stand up and take notice? Well, this is where advice from a careers expert can be invaluable. Stay tuned for my next blog where I will give you some tips to take your application to the next level and get noticed by employers and recruiters. With a bit of help from the experts, the sky is the limit!
Contact Blue Sky Careers today to book your Graduate Resume Writing and Interview Skills session.