Is your grad wired for the real world?

Article Source: Melissa Barber, Circuit City – City Life

The job market’s tough for new grads, and not only because of a faltering economy. Many employers dismiss today’s 20-somethings as the Entitlement Generation because they expect even their first entry-level job to offer them personal satisfaction, great benefits and high pay.

Really, young people are just seeking balance, says career strategist Daisy S. Swan, founder of Daisy Swan & Associates. This younger generation has seen how stressed modern workers can be, she says, and they hope to avoid a similar fate. “They want what a lot of people want, they just want it sooner.”

Equipping your grad for cubeland
First, however, they need to prove themselves, and that may mean working nights and weekends. “More than ever, at any time in our work history, flexibility is at a premium,” Swan says.

For that reason, any new grad needs to be accessible after hours and able to work from home. A speedy laptop with built-in wireless is a must, as is a BlackBerry or similar smartphone. The Nokia N810 Internet tablet is the best of both worlds; it offers email and Internet access and is small enough to carry everywhere.

College professors may have been tolerant of lost notebooks or late arrivals, but a grad’s new boss won’t be. Even if your grad isn’t naturally organized, tools like digital voice recorders and USB drives can help. If she tends to run late or get lost, having GPS navigation can save a sales call.

Whether working from home or the road, “be vigilant about staying in touch,” Swan advises. Just don’t make the fatal mistake of getting too attached to your electronics. If you tappity-tap on your laptop or cell phone during a meeting with your boss, you look like you just don’t care.

What did you just say?
Technology helps us communicate at lightning-fast speeds. It also means anyone can make a big workplace blunder in the blink of an eye. One of Swan’s clients wrote an email venting about her problems with a free gym membership—a company perk. Then she realized she had sent it to a senior VP, much to his annoyance. “It wasn’t the kind of attention she wanted,” Swan says.

How do you recover from a mistake like that? The old-fashioned way, Swan says: apologize in person. “Technology—it’s kind of got the last laugh on us,” she says. Emails and IMs often make things more complicated when an issue’s best resolved face to face. Knowing when to use technology, and when to turn it off, is the skill that might (one day) get your grad that job with the four-week surf vacation.

More tips for grads

* Don’t play on the Internet at work. They know.
* Do check to make sure your online presence is free of keg party photos—or at least upgrade your privacy settings so employers can’t stumble upon them.
* Do build a personal website that reflects your professional accomplishments.
* Don’t communicate via text message unless absolutely necessary. “OMG that reprt was due ystrdy???” is not something your boss wants to read.

Article Source: Melissa Barber, Circuit City – City Life