Dear University Careers Advisor,
I’m not sure to whom I should write this letter, but perhaps you could pass it on to your colleagues if this is not your field. I tried to contact directly, the heads of three university career services, in three different countries, posing the same questions, but received no response. I’m sure all university careers advisors are very busy. However, these questions continue to baffle me and have done for over five years now.
I am an international executive search professional and career transition coach. Through my profession I coach new graduates in the job search process and as a parent of two Gen Y kids I have a wide circle of friends with children of the same age, many seeking entry-level opportunities. So I come across on a daily basis, young adults who are simply overwhelmed by the process of getting a job. I just have to ask myself why that is. Then I thought I would ask you too – as presumably you must have the answers.
Gen Z have to be the most technologically savvy generation of all time, multi-tasking is in their blood. So why are so many of them confused about what needs to be done? There is so much free information on the internet, yet many don’t use it. How much time do you spend with them introducing them to the right social media platform, LinkedIn which is where recruiters actually look, explaining their value as a job search technique? Are they simply ignoring you or do you send them straight to TiK Tok which is filled with nonsense?
Those that do know what they are doing will streak ahead.
Back to Basics
I have many other questions. Let’s start with basics. What percentage even use your services? I’m perplexed why so many of them simply don’t have the first clue. They don’t know what they’re good at and they don’t know how to find out. What sort of aptitude or personality tests are available to them via university careers offices? Or is it that they just choose not to get involved and prefer this hit and miss process?
I’m also bemused why so many of their CV/resumes are so badly written. It doesn’t matter where in the world they’ve been to college: US, Canada, UK, Europe. Most are seriously suspect.
From my perspective, further education should be about two things : learning for its own sake and the acquisition of knowledge, but also to equip young people to be strong contributors to our economies and to make them self-supporting and sufficient. They are supposed to be our brightest and best. Do you think therefore, there is a place for job search techniques in our educational curricula, in the same way as we include Economic Theory, The complete works of Shakespeare or Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence?
So I continue to remain bewildered, as millions of young graduates year after year, flood our global workforce, seemingly poorly equipped to join international economies, or worse still expected to work as unpaid interns to gain even basic skills. I was confused even further when the last time I was involved in a graduate search I was asked to pay a fee. When I did engage in universities as a business the service they provided was poor. Besides any recruiter with half a brain can run a string through Google.
I can’t help wondering if it isn’t time for educational systems to formally address this problem and ask what your plans are, if indeed you have any?
I look forward to your feedback.
Reach out now for job search advice!
Updated in 2021 but the only thing which has changed is the name of the generation and the arrival of Tik Tok.