What Messages Are You Sending To Employers?

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College students should begin to pay attention to their words, actions and results in the classroom, at work and as they participate in activities. They must come to understand that they are sending messages to the people around them, whether they realize it or not. As students get close to graduation, employers begin to pay attention to those messages, so they can decide who they will interview and eventually who they will hire.

Employers need information about the students who are of interest to them. They will ask you to supply contact information for your Professors, Employers and References, so they can learn about your capabilities and behaviors:

1. What Do You Do Well? – Employers will want to learn about your Successes, Accomplishments and Results. That information will help them understand your strengths. Were your strengths demonstrated in the classroom, at work or as you participated in clubs and activities? Were your successes related to your field of study? Did you assume a leadership role? How large were your accomplishments?

2. What Gives You Problems? – Your Mistakes and Failures are important. Employers would like to know how frequently you make mistakes, how serious they are and how well you bounce back from a failure. They can be important indicators of your ability to solve problems and get things done.

3. Your Technical Competence – Where do you rank in your class? Are you in the top twenty percent, the middle fifty percent or the bottom thirty percent. Have you served as an intern or held a part-time job that enabled you to demonstrate your technical skills? Not all employers expect to hire the best student in your class. However, they do want to know if you are proficient with the things you were supposed to learn.

4. Maturity & Behavior – Your voice, speech, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, temperament, smile, friendliness, dress, grooming, jewelry, tattoos, personality, attitude, flexibility, work ethic, honesty, willingness to admit mistakes, manners, respect for others and willingness to accept responsibility. What kind of impression have you made with Professors, Employers, Mentors, Business Professionals, Community Leaders and College Leaders.

5. Communication Skills – Every job with every employer needs people who can read, write and speak properly, so they can interact effectively. Your ability to communicate will either help you or hurt your. Wise students try to work on their communication skills, as they go through college.

6. Ability to Fit Into a Professional Work Environment– Interacting with adults is quite different from interacting with other students and teens. You will be expected to act like an adult in all phases of your work. Nearly everyone you come in contact with will be older, more experienced and most likely more competent than you. Therefore, employers will try to make the following determinations:

a. Have you had experiences showing that you can build good relationships with student leaders, professors, college leaders, supervisors, subordinates, peers, people in other departments, customers, venders, contractors, politicians, business leaders and community leaders? Fitting in usually means getting along and hopefully impressing.

b. Can you be trusted to operate with little guidance and assistance? New employees must prove themselves with their attendance, punctuality, attitude, initiative, productivity, quality, decisions, willingness to help others or work in teams, and much more.

c. Business manners, etiquette and professionalism count. Every organization has a set of expectations in each of these areas. You must demonstrate your best qualities to the people who will serve as references.

d. Are you flexible enough in your words, actions and thinking to adjust to a work environment that is different from your past experiences? New employees will be expected to fit into the culture that exists. The culture will not change to accommodate you.

7. Your Potential – The best employers are thinking several years out. They prefer to hire students who will be promotable within the next two years and again a few years later. Few employers seek candidates who can only perform the job at hand and have little advancement potential.

The messages you are sending to the people you work with and the people you work for (in college, in part-time jobs and in the community) are the messages that will be passed on to employers. Those messages must fit the needs and wants of hiring employers. Glowing references that are supported with hard hitting examples and stories will make you a highly desirable candidate. Therefore, during the college years, wise students do their best to send positive messages to everyone.

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