Marketing Matters: Are College Students Prepared for the Business World?

Vintage stuff at Shine Gallery: Pennants
litlnemo / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA


Some may ask, “How does college students’ preparation for what comes after their graduation have anything to do with business and marketing”? As students and people, we all must remember our personal image, brand, and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis. This isn’t just about appearance, but also skills in the business world and the office. Are college students prepared for careers in fields that they’ve studied for the past 4 years? Business professionals say no.

According to a survey taken by Bentley University in Waltham Massachusetts, hiring managers don’t think college graduates have sufficient skills both in communication and the jobs that they’re applying for. Lack of interpersonal and writing skills are of major concern, adding onto the already mentioned issues managers are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. All the blame can’t be put on one or two factors, but why are college students not ready for careers, especially in the business sector? Are the colleges not teaching these students real skills that the business world requires, or are these 20 somethings not paying attention during classes and lectures? Maybe it’s both.

Ask a handful of college aged adults how school is going, the usual answers range from, the classes are hard to the parties are great. Not many seem excited to learn or want to gain as much knowledge as possible in the career fields they’re pursuing. For a hiring manager, this is the mentality they’re seeing from the millennial generation, even before these prospects walk into an interview. Very few students prepare themselves for the job they want, and lack the commitment and seriousness that is necessary to acquiring a position at a company or business.

All that ties into their personal brand and how they market themselves. Marketing isn’t just selling a product; as college students we’re constantly selling ourselves. When we meet new people in the dining hall we want to present ourselves as friendly as possible, or on a first date we want to show the other person we are worth their time and affection. But why doesn’t this translate to the business world? There seems to be a disconnect somewhere along the line, and whether that has anything to do with lack of preparation or not, college graduates aren’t impressing those already in the workforce.

Being a third party in conversations, college graduates still talk on a student level, displaying that they’re not fully ready to hold a meaningful discussion with employees both in minimal and high ranking positions. By now, graduates should be presenting themselves as if they belong in the corporate world and not at the fraternity or sorority house. This willingness to not let go of the college lifestyle isn’t helping, and for those who are moving on and preparing for what lies ahead, they are more likely to impress at an interview or in a casual conversation during a pickup basketball game.

The small details matter. Dressing as a professional, talking as a professional, and showing that you’re ready for the next chapter in your life is what makes you stand out. Adults don’t forget those who are serious and have a passion to succeed in life. That same seriousness might just land you a job, as you’re constantly making a first impression, and it can happen anywhere. However, this isn’t common among graduates, despite their endless talk of “I need a job” or “It’s difficult to find work”. Instead of waiting for an opportunity as if they’re waiting for a text from a friend, going out and pursuing is the best way to find a job, even if the economy is struggling.

Managers want serious and professional young talent, but they’re having a difficult time discovering them as there are not many to be found. Branding is extremely important, and it’s a must for every college student to make sure they’re valuable to a hiring manager. In their shoes, seeing an endless amount of college graduates presenting themselves the same way as their peers, lacking in necessary skills, and not possessing the passion for working in a career path they studied for aren’t characteristics worth hiring. You must stand out, if your peers aren’t prepared but you are, you’ll succeed. Hard work does pay off, and while others slack, you must show the business world what you can bring. It could be the difference between sitting on your coach saying “I want a job” and getting paid and prospering.

Leave a Reply