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13 Common Complaints Employers Have About Recent Grads


Think it’s the economy that’s keeping you from landing a job? Sure, that could be the problem. But have you considered that maybe it’s you? Employers have a lot of complaints about recent grads these days, from a sense of entitlement to being completely unprepared. Are you guilty of any of these employment no-nos?

  1. Grads are clueless about the job:

    Employers complain that often, interviewing recent grads can be frustrating because they lack a basic knowledge of the job. In fact, four in 10 employers are turned off by unprepared students in interviews. Although typically, job candidates should learn about what the job is all about, along with basic information about the company, many new college graduates walk into interviews uninformed. Do your homework before it’s time to go in for an interview.

  2. Students don’t have the skills or background employers are looking for:

    Many employers are finding a mismatch between what students are interested in doing and what they’re actually hiring for. Often, students pursue majors that don’t really have a lot of job opportunities, like psychology and performing arts, while sought-after majors like engineering and information science aren’t nearly as popular.

  3. Recent grads have unrealistic salary expectations:

    It’s easy to get a big salary number in your head when you’re just starting out: considering student loans, the parent-funded lifestyle you enjoyed in college, and stories of your classmates and alumni scoring big paychecks can inflate reality. A recent survey indicated that a whopping 43% of recent graduates expected to receive a higher starting salary than they actually did. Don’t get carried away. Base your expectations on what you really know, checking out salary surveys and learning about effective negotiation techniques.

  4. Students have sub-par writing skills:

    Writing skills are essential to success in the workforce. Workers today can send out dozens, even hundreds of emails each day, and guess what? You’ll have to write in every single one of them. While students may complain about tedious papers and reports in school, employers complain that they’re graduating with weak writing skills. You don’t have to be an English major, but taking a few extra writing courses can help you get ahead in the workforce.

  5. Young workers expect too much, too fast:

    We live in an age of instant gratification and overnight riches, and although it’s possible for recent grads to find success in a hurry, that’s not always the case. Employers complain that recent grads expect high achievement to come quickly, and do not exercise patience. If you expect rapid promotion and advancement, be sure to seek out a company that is happy to put you on the fast track.

  6. Recent grads don’t stick around:

    A lot of this has to do with the aforementioned lack of patience. When recent grads realize they’ll have to wait for advancement with their current employer, they may move on to a new company, leaving behind a void. Instead, employers prefer that students come into positions with realistic expectations and a commitment to stick around.

  7. Students may have a bad attitude:

    Although it makes sense to be positive and enthusiastic, it seems that recent grads may be lacking in this department. One in four employers have been turned off by a job candidate’s bad attitude. Be careful not to come off as a dud, and be sure to share your enthusiasm for the job (even if it’s fake) to get through your interviews and get the job.

  8. Young workers don’t have effective critical thinking skills:

    Sure, entry level jobs are often full of monotony, without a lot of opportunity for deviating from the norm, but employers expect that you’ll have at least some capacity for critical thinking. Unfortunately, many new grads have come up short. Set yourself apart by demonstrating your capacity for critical thinking.

  9. A poor work ethic:

    Millennials have earned a bad reputation for having terrible work ethics. Employers look for hires that are willing to work hard and be productive. You can display your commitment to hard work with good grades, accomplishments, and a good record of taking the initiative.

  10. Students haven’t gained enough experience:

    It’s a catch-22 for so many new grads: they can’t get a job because they’ve never had one before. Many students are severely lacking in the experience department, but the good news is that there’s something you can do about it: get an internship, start your own business, or even volunteer. There are plenty of ways to gain experience that don’t necessarily require having a paying job.

  11. Failing to present a professional persona:

    Employers often complain that students use cutesy or inappropriate email addresses, or make easily correctable mistakes on their resumes. Things like spelling and grammar errors have no place on your resume or cover letter. Take the time to proofread your materials before sending them over, and consider asking a friend or professor to help you edit.

  12. Students have embarrassing Facebook accounts:

    One in three employers reports that they use social networks to vet job candidates, and 40% of those specifically use Facebook. But they frequently find embarrassing photos and rants that are a major turnoff. Be careful about your online activities, and be careful to keep up the proper privacy settings for your account.

  13. A general lack of tenacity:

    Employers complain that many new grads lack sticking power, and they have to be taught about the importance of rising to challenges. Is college too easy? For some, perhaps. Challenge yourself by sticking with the professor that’s difficult or a course that’s a little above your level to learn about working through tough situations.

September 10th, 2012 written by Staff Writers

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