As a college student, there will come a time when you have to close the textbooks, pack up your off-campus apartment and set up shop at a job where your boss will expect you to work hard for your paycheck – everyday. The real world transcends the security of any college campus, challenging you to think differently and apply the skills and concepts you studied for four years. A graduation date will no longer loom in the distance. This is real life, and you have to be ready.
Thousands of young people enter the workforce every year, but research shows that most new college grads do not possess the skills that companies look for in candidates. One survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60 percent of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills” — an increase of 10 percentage points in just two years. Many of those managers also say today’s applicants can’t think critically and creatively, solve problems or write well.
A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey of more than 200 employers shows that the vast majority of employers look for candidates who are team players, problem solvers and can plan, organize and prioritize their work. It’s the soft skills – not the textbook knowledge – that really set you apart from the rest, not only in the interview process but into your career.
While students inherently learn some soft skills as they work through group projects and power through assignments, they need real world experience to complement their diplomas. Valuable internship programs like the Dardis Classroom to Career program teach college students how to succeed in the business world through structured training programs focused on soft skills like communication and presentation skills. They then give students the opportunity to hone their skills in a true work environment.
Wondering if an internship makes a difference post-college? According to a survey of more than 2,000 college students and 1,000 hiring manages, more than 80 percent of employers want new grads they hire to have completed a formal internship. Those employers know that internships provide students with the skills they need to succeed and reward those students with career opportunities.
If you’re a current student, continue to study hard but remember that in addition to your book smarts, you’ll need real world skills and experience to succeed. That’s where we come in. Apply today.
Photo credit: mer chau via Flickr