Do Fresh Graduates Lack Certain Skills?

by FutureLab | 28 Jun 2018


Having been an employer for longer than I care to remember, one thing stands out: CONFIDENCE.

The confidence of a graduate to take on a new challenge, to own their failures and to learn from these, and to push the envelope when it comes to decision-making.

The education system has moved from “carrot-on-stick” to “soft pillow” – many graduates don’t know what it is like to fail – because the system has always been about simply rewarding their participation, not achievement. The real-world hits hard! I don’t look at CVs – I look at the confidence of the applicant.

It is OK to fail. But its never ok not to learn from our failures.

We need to embrace failure and let it teach us the lesson so eloquently (and fearfully) contained therein. But that is a personal decision – one to improve our personal self and our professional self. A successful person is one that is up for the challenge.

Beyond this though, there are competencies that our graduates can work on. Fluency in language – understanding context, tone, and when to communicate in a certain way. The difference between personal and professional. Be it speaking or writing, improvement takes time, and practice; lots of practice. But when you feel for yourself the positive changes, it’s amazing.

One intern, Richard, stands in mind. Shy, introverted, at times incoherent. But he put in the yard work, and after a few months was able to present, in English, not in his mother tongue or the language of his education, to one of our global clients. That step put him on the path to success – he realised change comes from within, and that positive change is achievable.

Another bugbear I have is with computer skills. The millennial generation is fluent in social media (bravo); but not in basic productivity software.

Knowing the basics of Microsoft Office Suite, having an eye for detail and consistency, and appreciating the importance of accuracy, is a big deal in business. Otherwise, we would end up with poor quality visual communication, and this impacts upon credibility.

So, what to do?

Practice, practice, practice. Immerse yourself in opportunities to learn and grow. Never be ashamed to try and develop. Never be scared or embarrassed to ask for help or guidance. If you don’t want to ask your lecturers or boss, find a mentor. Ask for their help. Because once you are on the road to success, there should be nothing slowing you down.


Written by:

Dr. Craig J Selby, Orchan Consulting | Asia Sdn Bhd Renowned for the shaping of clever ideas to help brands stand out amidst the clutter, his stable of achievement encompasses a multitude of clients across varying industries, ranging from automotive to food and beverage to healthcare to FMCG to consumer electronics and more. A leading curator in the delivery of strategic solutions, Craig’s particular areas of interest include but are not limited to issues and crisis management, as well as personal branding. He has post-graduate qualifications in the fields of Economics (Globalisation), Economic Development, as well as Tertiary Teaching & Management.


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