Are You Workplace Ready?

You’ve just graduated, your parents are polishing up the frame for your graduation picture and you’re applying for the job of lifetime. Life is good … isn’t it? Maybe, just maybe. Securing the career you’ve worked hard and dreamed of for the last four years may be a little harder than you think. Are you really ready for the workplace? If you want to have the edge you need to prove that you are.

preparing for the workplace

Gallup recently did a poll that surveyed 635 employers, many of them household names, on how well they thought new graduates were prepared for a role in the workplace. The outcome? A sad but staggering four out of every five said that the majority of graduates were not ready for employment. 17% went so far as they say that NONE of the graduates were ready for work, that’s nearly one in five. These preconceptions are very hard to work against but must be done to make sure you secure a good position. How can you ensure you are not one of the graduates that is considered unprepared for work?

Let’s take a look at the reasons employers feel that modern graduates are not ready for the workplace.


Most employers look for team players. With the internet and advances in the digital age there are very few jobs that don’t have a significant element of team work. When a team works well together less time has to be used to manage them and they are more productive. Working in a team is a skill that is learned and does not come naturally to some people. Experience in any type of team work is worth its weight in gold.


There are not many places for texting in business world. There is an art to communication, as well as a business language that still flourishes and works effectively, which is not common in the ‘r u ok?’ vernacular students are used to operating in. Learning to communicate in the appropriate language is important to business success. Not only using the right words but also knowing how to communicate them is a skill. Knowing when to email, have a face to face conversation and when to call can make all the difference, as well as the tone of the conversation. The workplace is not home or school, you are payed to be there – and to be effective.


This is a very simple, but oh! So HUGE problem to an employer.  Attendance is not optional at work – but being employed is. Being late reflects your attitude to the quality of your work, so is never viewed as a good thing. Even being late back from lunch is a big thing – get used to it.


If you think you were under pressure at university – wait till you get a job. With any job there are elements you love and elements that are monotonous, but you have to endure both. The business world runs to make money and pressure is part for the course. There is no ‘easy’ career. You will experience pressure and many employers are finding that graduates do not cope under that pressure as it is alien to them. There is great merit to an employer in the old adage ‘if you can’t stand the heat – get out of the kitchen’.

Common Sense Economy

One surprising element that came from the study – employers were not impressed with their graduate’s dependency on search engines. Gone are the traditional methods to solve a problem, and with it some of the vital skills that were valuable in other areas of the job. This economical use of common sense in favor of instant gratification also fostered a lack of patience that is also vital in a work place setting.

You have, and will learn, many valuable things from your degree studies but these life skills are just as valuable and learned in a different arena. To present yourself as the best graduate for a position you need to demonstrate your abilities in these areas to allay any fears the recruiter may have about your candidacy as a graduate.

Build up experience in team work outside of your university course. Make note of any team building exercises you have done, or courses taken, get involved in the community and volunteer. Make sure you have some experience of pressurized work place or courses. Competitions, sales numbers, difficult volunteer work, leadership are all examples of being able to cope under pressure. Make the most of them. Any part time jobs also demonstrate quantifiable workplace experience so excel at your part time job – even flipping burgers is getting you one step closer to your dream job … if you flip them well.

When you apply for the position make sure you use business appropriate language and communicate well. Send a thank you note where appropriate, look for opportunities to call and always adhere to any rules or guidelines they give. Be proactive in your communication and always use it to further your application. They want a business person who they trust to do the job, not a friend, that can come later.

Whatever happens – do not be late EVER. Be early if possible. Reply to communication in a timely manner and be interested. These things contribute massively to a picture of your integrity as a worker. Make sure you communicate other interests that show you have the ability to investigate other avenues. Reading, volunteering, an internship, genealogy, writing, preparing your own tax returns, absolutely anything that shows you can ‘think outside the search engine’ needs to be bought out, as well as enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the antidote to laziness and is quite impressive.

Use this research to guide you in presenting yourself at the peak of your qualities and be smart – you’ve worked for the last four years for this, don’t blow it by arriving late! By following these guidelines you can show them you are not like four out of five graduate candidates, impress them with your knowledge and your parents will have a picture of you at your desk at work before they get back your graduation photo.

This guest post was courtesy of Free Resume Builder