According to a new study conducted by Accenture, the expectations of young professionals as they enter the working world don’t always align with reality. Some of those expectations, it’s fair to say, are approaching status as “Millennial career myths.”
With that in mind, here are a few realities of the working world and the role internships play in our careers:
“Now That I’ve Had an Internship, I’ll Snag a Job Effortlessly.”
Reality: Even though the study showed that 72% of college students complete an internship,apprenticeship or co-op, less than half of recent grads found a job as a result. Just because you have internship experience doesn’t mean a job will fall out of the sky and land on your lap.
Choose your internships carefully. Look for opportunities that will help you make valuable connections for your career in the future and give you specific experience relevant to the type of job you’ll target out of college.
If you’re not quite sure what kind of job you want yet, choose an internship that will expose you to a variety of aspects of the industry — then you can learn what you like and don’t like for the future.
“My Degree Will Get Me a Job in My Field.”
Reality: Only 64 percent of recent grads are working in their chosen field, meaning 34 percent aren’t using their degree.
A degree isn’t your free ticket to landing a job in your chosen field of study. Today’s employers are looking for candidates with proven industry skills, even for entry-level jobs. This makes where you intern and what you do at your internship more important than ever before.
At your internship, keep a portfolio of work samples and a list of accomplishments as tangible proof of your abilities. You can host your portfolio online and link it to your LinkedIn and social profiles, available to recruiters who might be searching for candidates like you.
“Once I’m Out of College, I’ll Make Enough to Pay off My Loans.”
Eighty-five percent of up-and-coming grads expect to earn more than $25,000 a year in their first job out of school, Accenture found.
Reality: Forty-one percent of recent grads earn $25,000 or less per year, according to Accenture.
Your first job might not pay enough for you to pay off all your loans quickly, buy a new car, and finally pick up that new phone you’ve been eyeing, but at least it’s a start. If you work hard during your first couple of years, your paycheck will grow.
You can also accelerate your career growth by gaining pivotal experience earlier. While in college, take as many relevant internship opportunities as you can to help you acclimate to the working world before you graduate. The more experience and sharp skills you have coming out of school, the better your performance will be, which could increase your chances of being promoted faster.
After you’ve had one or two unpaid internships, you might be able to find a paid one to help pay the bills while you’re still in school.
“My First Job Will Provide All the Training I Need.”
Seventy-seven percent of 2015 graduates expect their employer to provide formal training.
Reality: Only a little more than half of 2013-2014 grads surveyed said they received training from their first employer.
Just because a job is labeled entry-level doesn’t mean an employer is going to hold your hand. Yes, it’s ideal to receive plenty of training to perform your job tasks effectively, but in every industry, there are a few fundamental skills you’ll be expected to know coming out of school.
Take some initiative to prepare yourself with the fundamentals in your industry by applying what you learn in school. Of course, your internship is a great venue for this, but if you can’t find an internship, volunteer or start your own project.
Though your first job might not turn out as expected, with enough drive and persistence, you can reach your career goals.
For you, what expectations were not met after college? What would you add to this list of Millennial career myths?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friend, Heather Huhman!
About The Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.