By: Anne Klinck, Strategic Planning Committee Member
How will I know that I’m ready to be a part of the professional workforce? What makes me hirable? These are questions many college students have prior to graduation. What do others do to get ready? First and most importantly, they earned a degree in their field. But a secondary point to remember is that employers will hire young people if they act professional. There are ways to start practicing professionalism daily so that acting properly in a work place environment comes naturally. Some areas to focus in on that can be cleaned up before even applying are language, appearance, and organization.
Language. Language spans as far as giving a speech in class, to writing a paper, an e-mail, text, tweet, status, and more. In today’s world, people’s thoughts flow freely and quickly. You have to be careful when speaking, as to not use inappropriate language that might offend others. Additionally, you want to be cautious on social media when sharing views on controversial topics. Whether or not an interviewer has scrolled through your feed can make the difference between “you’re hired” and “you’re crazy.” You should also practice removing fillers when publically speaking. Phrases such as “um” or “like” can make a person look as if they are unprepared. Cleaning up your speaking patterns comes with time and practice; but being conscientious of it helps when trying to amend bad habits.
Appearance. Another area that sends a message to employers is the way you dress. Do not feel as if you cannot express yourself, as it doesn’t hurt to dress appropriately for specific occasions. Business casual and black tie events are very different. It pays off to be prepared with appropriate attire. There is no need to go out and purchase a whole new wardrobe, but be prepared for formal events in order to better blend in and mingle with potential peers.
Organization. Organization never hurt anyone. Being able to keep your own personal schedule in order will help you greatly when trying to plan your work schedule. Being on time for appointments is crucial, and punctuality is always appreciated. Keeping a daily schedule now will allow you to stay focused and prioritize around deadlines. There will always be deadlines, so you might as well start practicing the time crunches now.
College graduates are nervous whether their degree will be enough to get them their dream job. Unfortunately, it is not always enough to just graduate; you have to play the part. Working on your speech patterns, preparing formal attire, and practicing good organization now will greatly serve you when you do land that interview. While your degree gets you the interview, your ability to fit into an agency will get you the position, and practicing professionalism in your daily life can only prepare you more.