Hello SOTGC community,
“There is a good reason they call these ceremonies commencement exercises. Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.” –Orrin Hatch
This time of year, it seems everyone is impacted by the countless graduations that take place across the nation, even the world. For those that are taking the walk, proudly wearing their cap and gown, in the back of their mind and hidden from the joy displayed on their face, they are trembling. You know what I am talking about, we have all been there! The mix of emotions from: “I did it … I finally did it!” to: “Oh my goodness … what next!?”
Whether the individuals we are supporting are crossing the stage to receive their high school diploma or college degree, they are absorbed in the fact they have reached their zenith moment. As onlookers watching with pure delight and full of pride, we share in their moment, and then our lives move on. The graduates float back to earth as reality sets in, and their moment quickly becomes a memory. They are left asking themselves, “Now what?”
Let me fill that in, for many it is this … time to get a job!
What!? A job!!
Well, unless tucked neatly in one of the sealed congratulatory envelope is the winning lottery ticket that will set the graduate up for life, a job is necessary. Before securing a job, there is that monumental task of getting a job offer, which means it is time to interview.
In my career, I have interviewed hundreds of individuals that had a range of skills and experience. Of the range of previous positions, educational background, professional development, and interview skills, the most in need of improvement was interview skills. What seemed to be missing throughout alternated from attire, understanding of position interviewing for, how to properly answer a question, even basic etiquette.
I have seen this as a growing concern, not only with myself, but also speaking with others in my network. Why does there seem to be a growing population of “paper qualified” candidates unable to receive a job offer or secure a career? The answer is easy; we are not setting our younger generations up for interviewing success. We provide them with knowledge, lead by example, give them opportunities, but we fall short in helping them articulate their experiences into a conversation that helps the interviewer further identify the applicant’s thought process and skill sets.
Over the last couple of years I have participated in mock interviews held by my local high school’s personal finance class. As part of the grade, students are required to complete a resume and participate in an official interview with business people from around the community. As volunteer interviewers, we are expected to ask them a series of questions, then rate them on how they introduced themselves, attire, and ability to answer the questions. And finally, provide them written and verbal feedback.
The experience has been extremely rewarding for me, since I feel I am having a small, but important, impact on helping these high school students prepare for the next chapter in their lives. Some students seem less impressed with the opportunity offered, while others seem to immerse themselves in the feedback and ask questions on how to improve. Every interaction we have with our younger generation allows us to help continue forming their foundation for the future. The experiences we have encountered during our career provide us with a toolbox full of examples to share with them.
So, the next time you are sharing congratulations, or signing a card, add a word of wisdom to help prepare them for the world ahead. Remember the great words of Dr. Seuss in his book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go: “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” The road is long and not always easy to navigate, they deserve every opportunity to succeed.
If this post resonated with you, pick up a pen and note card or send an email to a recent graduate. Share a word of advice to help them leave a lasting impression during their next interview. Give back to our future generations! Please Tweet, Pin or share on LinkedIn or Facebook.