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Go find some paperclips

You and your employer value your skills differenty

One of my first tasks in my first job was to scrounge paper clips from throughout my newspaper plant so my paper clip-dependent department would have enough for the entire week.

Paper clips were essential, but getting new ones was a luxury we didn’t have. That’s where my skills came in.

I remember thinking about how demeaning this was. I was, after all, a marvelous writer and people would be clamoring to read my stories once they were published. But first I had to go find some silly paper clips.

Clearly, there was a difference between how management and I assessed my value.

According to a recent survey, things haven’t changed much over time. College students still think they are way more qualified for the workplace than managers do, according to the survey of 2,001 young college students and 1,000 hiring managers for Chegg, a Santa Clarita-based company that offers learning resources to students.

In 11 crucial work skills, students ranked themselves better equipped to handle the task than managers believed they are in every task.

The largest divergence came over the ability to prioritize work, where 27 percent of students ranked their skills higher than managers did.

There were large gaps ranging from 10 percent to 22 percent for the other basic tasks, including the ability to communicate information in writing, managing resources and timelines, creating budgets and incorporating information to develop strategic insights.

For instance, 52 percent of college students felt they could create a budget, a view shared by only 30 percent of managers surveyed.

The survey also showed that when it comes to looking for work students put an inordinate importance on the name of their college, their personal connections, and their college grades. Hiring managers assign much less importance to these than students think.

All of this shows that we still have a lot of work to do in the field of job preparedness. And, that’s not just something that students need to do, but employers as well.

Chegg’s conclusion is that employers seek to expand meaningful internships in which students can take their book smarts and experience how they apply to the workplace.

Students need to take seriously what these findings suggest. They must take it upon themselves to seek out ways to augment their skills through independent learning, coursework, and self-study.

In addition, students need to look to gain experience in extra-curricular activities and projects that give them the experiences to hone their basic skills in ways that apply directly to the workplace.

The findings of Chegg’s study demonstrate that even though students think they are well-prepared, the people who will be hiring them aren’t convinced. That means it is tougher for students to find those entry-level jobs for their careers, which can be discouraging to the young person who thinks they are adequately prepared to handle the realities of a job.

At the same time, those who choose to apply themselves and find a way to gain the experience that employers seek will be the first hired.

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One of my first tasks in my first job was to scrounge paper clips from throughout my newspaper plant so my paper clip-dependent department would have enough for the entire week.

Paper clips were essential, but getting new ones was a luxury we didn’t have. That’s where my skills came in.

I remember thinking about how demeaning this was. I was, after all, a marvelous writer and people would be clamoring to read my stories once they were published. But first I had to go find some silly paper clips.

Clearly, there was a difference between how management and I assessed my value.

According to a recent survey, things haven’t changed much over time. College students still think they are way more qualified for the workplace than managers do, according to the survey of 2,001 young college students and 1,000 hiring managers for Chegg, a Santa Clarita-based company that offers learning resources to students.

In 11 crucial work skills, students ranked themselves better equipped to handle the task than managers believed they are in every task.

The largest divergence came over the ability to prioritize work, where 27 percent of students ranked their skills higher than managers did.

There were large gaps ranging from 10 percent to 22 percent for the other basic tasks, including the ability to communicate information in writing, managing resources and timelines, creating budgets and incorporating information to develop strategic insights.

For instance, 52 percent of college students felt they could create a budget, a view shared by only 30 percent of managers surveyed.

The survey also showed that when it comes to looking for work students put an inordinate importance on the name of their college, their personal connections, and their college grades. Hiring managers assign much less importance to these than students think.

All of this shows that we still have a lot of work to do in the field of job preparedness. And, that’s not just something that students need to do, but employers as well.

Chegg’s conclusion is that employers seek to expand meaningful internships in which students can take their book smarts and experience how they apply to the workplace.

Students need to take seriously what these findings suggest. They must take it upon themselves to seek out ways to augment their skills through independent learning, coursework, and self-study.

In addition, students need to look to gain experience in extra-curricular activities and projects that give them the experiences to hone their basic skills in ways that apply directly to the workplace.

The findings of Chegg’s study demonstrate that even though students think they are well-prepared, the people who will be hiring them aren’t convinced. That means it is tougher for students to find those entry-level jobs for their careers, which can be discouraging to the young person who thinks they are adequately prepared to handle the realities of a job.

At the same time, those who choose to apply themselves and find a way to gain the experience that employers seek will be the first hired.

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