As a former Dean at Princeton University and the author of I Can Finish College I want to provide you with these top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace.
Employers are generally not happy with the current group of college graduates. They complain that students do not know how to communicate well—especially in writing.
They notice that students do not know how to interact appropriately with bosses and colleagues.
They complain that students do not know how to multitask and work hard.
However, the good news is that these things are easily fixed.
Here are the Top 4 things College Students Can Do to Fit into the Workplace
Employers are specifically looking for these things as they hire college students.
1. Make sure that your reading skills are excellent.
Reading teaches language and writing as well as provides you excellent knowledge. We are more inclined to write well when we read lots.
As you read, ensure that you make mental movies of what you read because that increases your comprehension and your memory.
It also helps you improve your vocabulary, another communication skill employers are looking for and is one of the top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace.
I was asked early in my corporate career to write speeches for executives and memos for colleagues. My writing skills, I think, had much to do with my advancement.
My ability to understand cultural references, such as when someone says something is a “catch 22” (a reference to a book by Joseph Heller) meant that I became a good fit in the corporate culture. This is one of the ways I learned about the top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace.
That is why summer is such a perfect time to read – it gives you more time to get in touch with the current culture as well as that of the past to which people often refer.
2. The second of the top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace is to align yourself with people who can help you on many fronts
Begin with faculty and advisors especially if you are in summer school when things could be quieter for them.
You can learn some of the workplace social and negotiating skills from these encounters which are relatively low risk. But you can also learn explicitly by asking questions and for guidance
Just learning how to ask questions is a workplace skill and for sure one of the top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace. It delivers a message of humility and interest. Perhaps most important is that these relationships are the beginning of the all powerful network.
Finding people who will believe in you, mentor you and advance you begins with college relationships with administrators, professors, alumni and staff and even guest speakers.
I tell students all the time when I speak to groups that they can reach out to me. Of the hundreds of cards I have given them there are always only a small handful who take me up on it. Those that do I know will be winners—they will fit.
3. The third thing of the top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace is that you must learn to observe.
What do people do in restaurants with white tablecloths? What do they do and talk about in museums? And at work… how do those in leadership roles talk to each other? How do you talk to the boss?
Watch during your summer job and while you are out and about. You need to know how to play the inside political game with civility. The bottom line is that you need to know how people that you aspire to be like actually behave at work if you are going to fit.
And even if the outcomes are not all we might wish there is generally civility and manners to be emulated. Being overtly crude, for example, is not generally good for advancement.
Being part of student government or campus committees can help you see how people function in these environments. Plan on this for the fall.
4. Finally, the last of the top 4 things college students can do to fit into the workplace is to get a job.
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