Are College Students Setting Themselves Up for Future Job Failure?
Today’s students may be in more trouble than they realize when it comes to getting a career out of college, according to a new report conducted by Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm based in Boston, and StudentAdvisor.com, a resource for high school students to find their best-fit colleges. Results from The Student Career Development Study of college students across America show that students aren’t aggressively preparing for their post-college careers while they’re still in college — which may have serious consequences for their future job prospects. It’s worth noting the study was conducted across a fairly small sample size of 200 students — so bear that in mind.
Networking not necessarily a priority
While 85 percent of the students surveyed consider internships an important part of building a future career (52 percent say they hope to have three or more internships before graduation), only one-third have a presence on the professional networking site LinkedIn, and only 1 in 9 have a presence on WordPress, a major blog publishing tool.
What do college students want from the “real world”?
- 41 percent say they are interested in following the employee career path.
- 34 percent are interested in going straight to graduate school.
- 15 percent want to be entrepreneurs.
- 8 percent want to be consultants.
- Fewer than 2 percent want to remain dependent on their parents indefinitely.
The report also found the following:
1. College students value internship opportunities. 52 percent hope to have three or more internships before graduating, while only 40 percent have actually had at least one internship. Eighty-five percent of students surveyed believe having an internship is either important or very important for their future career.
2. College students are not experts at branding themselves. Despite the technical savvy of many Millennials, the majority of them (93 percent) lack an understanding of personal branding, and many also aren’t taking advantage of other branding initiatives like creating business cards and personal domain names, or maintaining a presence on networking sites or professional blogs.
3. College students are generally mentored by their parents and ignore online experts. Seventy percent of students surveyed said they have at least one mentor — and 37 percent say that mentor is their parent. Twenty-eight percent point to their professor as their mentor. Twenty-one percent say it’s their family or a friend, and 17 percent say it’s their current or former employer. Ten percent say they’ve found a mentor through social networking, and a mere 1 percent say their mentor is someone they’ve found in an online networking group.
4. College students are lacking in professional development. Only 29 percent of students have sought out career and job help from career services at their university, and just 22 percent belong to professional development or industry-related groups. Only 20 percent have taken or say they would take courses that teach social media skills.
5. College students are active on social media, but not in a career-oriented way. Almost all college students surveyed (95 percent) have Facebook accounts, and nearly half have Twitter and/or Google+ accounts. Only 34 percent, however, have LinkedIn profiles.
Other social media sites used include:
- Pinterest (30 percent).
- Instagram (28 percent).
- MySpace (26 percent).
- Tumblr (17 percent).
- Foursquare (14 percent).
- WordPress (11 percent).