A new study by Millennial Branding and Experience, Inc. shows that only half of employers have hired an intern in the past six months. While 91 percent of employers think that students should participate in an internship before they graduate, the majority of companies surveyed haven't hired interns for full-time positions. This is what we're calling the employment gap, and it's one reason why half of recent graduates are jobless or underemployed. If employers are expecting recent graduates to have internships, then they should hire more of their interns. This is a huge dilemma for students who think that internships turn into jobs. Here's some advice on how they and other young professionals can prepare for the current job market:
Work on your soft skills. Employers view good communication and a positive attitude as important attributes when hiring for entry-level positions. Jennifer Floren, founder and CEO of Experience, Inc., says that "employers understand that everything else can be taught, so they look for the most promising raw material to work with." Hard skills, such as knowledge of computer programs, can be easily learned. Soft skills take time to develop.
Don't rely on social networks. Many students think that the best way to find a job is through social networks such as LinkedIn, but our research says differently. We found that only 16 percent of employers recruit via social networks all or most of the time. They mostly use job boards and employee referrals. My recommendation is to use all of your resources to your benefit; what works for one person might not work for the next.
Develop entrepreneurship ability. Nearly one third of employers are looking for entrepreneurship experience when recruiting. Challenge yourself to start a business or a project that will show that you can think outside of the box. We all have to think like entrepreneurs, whether we start companies or not. I define entrepreneurship as "personal accountability": We have to drive our careers and not rely on anyone else to do it.
— Dan Schawbel is the founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and management consulting company. Subscribe to his updates at Facebook.com/DanSchawbel.
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