Are the universities letting the next generation down?

I am a firm believer that the UK has some of the best universities in the world. However, does a game plan to raise the bar of performance feature within their strategic plans, particularly in relation to what happens when they wave good bye to their graduates.  We turn out amazing talent, equipped with knowledge and expertise in writing highly intellectual theses and essays. But what happens when they try to get a job. As an employer and interviewer of graduate talent, what comes across my desk every day is CV’s that lack depth, an inability to articulate a point of differentiation and to be honest a document so generic it misses the point. The resultant effect is we send out piles of “no thank you” letters, this must be highly discouraging to those poor graduates who thought their degree was a passport to the world.

Well I think its time for a rethink of how we make the talent pool more ready for the work place – many universities have a careers advice service, but just how effective is it?  Employers are looking for a tailored CV, crisp and to the point, giving evidence led narrative, supported by an interview where the applicant is prepared and up for the pitch. Attitude is just as important as qualification.

So where does the responsibility lie for job readiness? Is it the employer or the university? My view it’s the latter. If it’s going to be the growth SMEs that create new jobs, I believe it’s the universities role to turn out more rounded graduates ready for the work place. Those who have been taught the importance of self motivation, the power of communication, researching employer needs and writing CVs that hit the spot. If we don’t get a grip of this we will end up with graduates whacking out hundreds of CVs and applications with many of them receiving the obvious replies – this will manifest into bright sparks becoming depressed and ultimately lacking self worth. A thought for policy makers.

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2 Responses to Are the universities letting the next generation down?

  1. Sohail Ahmad says:

    Hi,
    It is a reality.
    You talked about qualification and attitude. But how to develop the winning attitude for the job market. And also thanks for your presentation on Leadership while in University of Central Lancashire.

    Sohail Ahmad
    MBA Student
    University of Central Lancashire

    • johnleachwp says:

      Thanks Sohail – the winning attitude starts with you having clarity about what you want. Once you define this you must use the principles I discussed and constantly tell yourself you will make it happen. Getting ready for the job market involves:

      1. Defining what job you want
      2.Build a list of companies you want to work for
      3.Researching those businesses and get into their world
      4.Prepare a letter that is targeted to their needs
      5.Make your CV relevant and specific
      6.Find the right person to send the letter to (make a phone call first and discuss)
      7.Follow up the CV 5 days after sending
      8.If you get an interview – think about what is going to make you different
      9.Repeat the above process
      10. Remember – hard work, long hours, focused energy and reflect
      I hope this helps – see you soon John

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