A Timetric briefing service

The expectation gap

20 February 2013

My plan since I started this blog more than a year ago has always been to cover issues related to preparing for the next step - a professional career - which, I hope will begin after graduation.

In my first blog, I looked back to being a child and talked about my childhood career dream, which at the tender age of five was to become a "cashier because they get all the money."

Now, being halfway through my accounting degree studies, it has become obvious that I am going to need a lot more skills, as well as my academic qualifications, to ensure I'm employable. However, it seems there is a gap between what we students think we need to know and what the employers are actually looking for.

I would like to think employers are looking for well-rounded individuals who have invested in their personal and professional development and have a variety of skills to offer.

Of course this expectation gap varies from student to student and person to person but it does need to be bridged. In order to do that, we need to take extra steps towards meeting the expectations of our future employers because a very strong academic record does not always guarantee an easy passage towards employment. An individual's character and their personality also play a significant role in getting a good job offer.

I would recommend that all us students do our own research on this issue in order to try and bridge that gap and ensure we are not at the back of the queue at the job centre after graduation has been and gone!

If we can show our potential employers we have made some steps towards easing the transition from academia to a professional career as easy as possible this is likely to work in our favour.

Thankfully, it seems a lot of universities are on the same wave length and are trying to address the issue. Many are now offering Employability Awards, which is a form of extra credit given to students who have taken additional steps in order to make themselves more "attractive" to potential employers.

As a student at BPP, I am participating in the university's Employability Scheme. The scheme assigns me to a careers consultant who then helps me develop a more professional image, which is close to what employers are looking for. My mentor will collaborate with me to identify my strengths and weaknesses in relation to my career goals and agree to what actions to take in order to achieve them.

On the back of the global financial crisis and an abundance of redundancies the job market has been saturated with highly qualified job seekers making competition fierce. This makes it even more important we take advantage of the opportunities offered through these types of university schemes to increase our chances of finding a job.

There is a lot of online information about the various employability schemes on offer, which I'm sure you will find useful. So with no more excuses, I recommend you go out and increase your chances like I'm trying to do.

Good luck!

Ellie Fanis