This post is different from the usual ones because it is not focused (at least not directly) on your job performance or your everyday tasks. Specifically, it is related to a subject that I’ve always considered fundamental: how university prepare students for their first jobs. In other words, the ways how university supports (or should prepare) students in their transition into work.
As said many times, being technically prepared it is not enough in order to being effective at work; you need to be able to manage stress, communicate effectively and “make the right moves” in an already established environment (established also on the political point of view). About these “subjects” , university doesn’t support students. The students who adapt easily are many times the ones who had the luck to have a good mentor at university or a very stimulating group of colleagues. Some might argue that there are initiatives as career days and company testimonials that help to reduce the distance between these 2 worlds. It is definitely true , but the majority of the times only the physical distance is reduced allowing students to “speak” with the companies; unfortunately, these initiatives do not facilitate the creation of a mature mindset for the workplace. Why? The testimonials and career days happen in controlled environments (i.e. classes at university) where students are comfortable.
A part from what mentioned above (managing stress, communicate effectively and make the right moves), there is something more powerful that can make the transition to work less simple: the mismatch between the expectations related to the job and the reality of the job. Many universities are not good to present the possible career’s trajectory and what students should expect from their first corporate job. As recruiter, you end up managing students’ expectations warning them that what they expect is not possible or will not happen in the short run (i.e. manage a team in a couple of years). Additionally, universities should not only present their brand in order to attract more students and keeping high their interests; the academic world should prevent this reality shock due to an expectations’ mismatch. Similarly, companies that work with internship programs or graduate Program should exercise a “reality check approach”. Going to sell the message that recent graduates will be the CEO be in 5 years, in short, it is not a great idea!