What do communications students from Marist College, Northeastern, the University of Vermont, the
College of Charleston and the PRSSA share in common?
Almost all have failed to follow-up with me after being urged to post comments on my blog, submit a writing sample for my edits or just plain ask for my help in networking.
I’ll bet I’ve lectured before 500 or more college students in the past year alone. And, I’d guess that less than two percent have leveraged the ‘meetings’ to connect with me. These are the same kids who, in conversation with me, voice serious fears about successfully entering the workforce.
I’ve discussed the students’ lack of aggressiveness and follow up with search consultant par excellence, Bill Heyman. He agrees that, while the latest generation of college kids, live, eat and breathe all things digital, they lack either the competitive drive or intellectual wherewithal to connect, network and differentiate themselves as thought leaders.
I’m sure sociologists could have a field day with the various reasons why this is happening. But, in my mind, it comes down to two factors: my generation of parents has spoiled the current one, most of whom expect the business world to beat a path to their door. Second, the Web has become a virtual crutch of sorts enabling kids to avoid direct confrontation.
Regardless of the causes, we’re left with a group of kids who desperately want jobs, but seem reluctant or unwilling to roll up their sleeves and do it what it takes to succeed. File it all under the term ‘sense of entitlement.’
I think what is ironic about this situation is that college kids today are more connected to each other than ever before. Through websites like Facebook, I probably know more about almost every kid I graduated high school with than I could ever want or need. Furthermore, I see on a daily basis how nonchalantly people posts messages and make comments to one another – even complete strangers. Yet, I agree with you Repman, most people don’t bridge the gap and utilize these tools to connect with potential future employers and knowledgeable contacts, especially when they make it so simple. Email, blogs and Facebook must be easier than business cards and cold calls.
We clearly have the skills, but just don’t take advantage. I just hope I’m not a victim of my own opinion.
Unless you are communicating with underclassmen, these kids are missing a terrific opportunity to market themselves and to network with someone as senior as you Steve. I would think that seniors would be counting down the days to graduation and then finding that first job. And if communications is their field of interest, why don’t realize the opportunity, or seize it, is beyond me.
When I was teaching at New York University’s School of Continuing Education or undergrads at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I always brought in “guest speakers” to give students real life experiences from different aspects of the industry and allowed them time to “network” with the speakers, ask their advice about getting into the marketplace, etc.
In fact, on those days when I did have a guest speaker, they were the main focus of the class, not me. I would give them about 60-90 minutes of time on the front end while I took the final 45-60. But I exposed them to 6-8 different professionals and the kids just “ate it up.”
You shared your knowledge and expertise with them. If they fail to take advantage of what you have to offer than they are missing the boat.
I hear you. I’ve had the exact same experience after guest lecturing at Rutgers. Out of a class of 50, maybe 2-3 are smart enough to follow-up.