As the leader of a nonprofit organization that seeks to prepare students for college, work and life, I completely get it, when I go into a situation with a student, that there are things that he or she just may not know or understand yet. I am tolerant of this. I get it. Not so much with young adults (think college grads).
As I begin to transition my organization into a highly collaborative learning environment, I have been musing more and more about the hiring process, personalities, training, supervision and all the yummy nuances that go into talent development. And after this past year, hiring two young adults, one right out of college and the other just a few years out (she was terminated after only a month of employment), I have come to believe that most of the articles that I have read and continue to read about the current young workforce not being prepared is so sadly true. As a result of my own experiences, I have come up with the following 8 recommendations to be shared with a young adult entering the workforce that you may know:
- If you don’t know – Open Your Mouth and ASK! For example, if you can’t do something, let someone know so they can help you i.e. making a table/chart in Word.
- Be inquisitive about your work. Read everything you can especially if it’s right there in front of you.
- When you go into a meeting, have something to take notes with. You can at least do that!
- Always look your best.
- No matter how “cool” your supervisor is, don’t become too comfortable. We are not your friend.
- Understand that your supervisor is human too. Figure out just how so ASAP and act accordingly.
- Either you don’t care, or you don’t know. You were hired to carry out specific tasks, if you aren’t doing them, it’s because you don’t care or you don’t know.
- Use your voice. That’s why you have one. If you uncover something that needs to be changed, speak up.
I hope these recommendations benefit someone.
And for employers – regardless of what’s on their resume, what they said in the interview or was verified by their references, don’t assume they really know anything! Training must take center stage, even with the basics.