How university students could get guidance from industry to improve their career prospects (PART 1)
Updated: Jun 11
Student life, whether at a school or university is considered the best time for an individual's intellectual growth. The more skills you acquire, the better results you get in the future. So this span of time in anyone's life should be considered as an investment and one must be motivated enough to make the most of it. Students should understand this philosophy. They should understand the importance of receiving professional guidance during the formative years of their life.
University students, during the penultimate years of their course, often introspect and reflect on the career choices they need to make. Sometimes they consider taking up a vocational course while the other time they consider internships. All this is well considered to enhance their visibility in the industry of their choice and to specialize in a certain field. Universities are often seen helping the students develop professional skills, however, there are times when the university does not have enough industrial tie-ups or simply the willingness to guide the students. Any university student can feel lost and dejected in such a situation! They simply do not understand what to do and end up trying multiple unrelated avenues in despair. The result is both a waste of time and skills.
According to a Forbes article:
More than half of students surveyed said increased access to internships and other professional experiences would have helped them feel better prepared.
Due to the sheer lack of required skills possessed by the students, there has been a disappointment shown by the employers as well. According to the same article,
77% of students reported feeling confident in their professionalism, work ethic, teamwork and collaboration skills, while employers felt less enthusiastic—according to the recent NACE Job Outlook Study. In fact, only 43% of them feel recent grads are proficient in these areas.
So clearly, there is a gap between what employers expect and what students end up learning on their own. How wonderful will it be if these students can receive guidance from an external and yet proficient industry source? How useful will it be for these students of the expert can take them under their umbrella, guide them and help them develop skills for a better future? This is where there is a huge scope for Micromentoring.
The next question which comes up to our mind is that how can these students obtain guidance from the industry experts by Micromentoring? We believe the following ways can help in starting the process:
1. Network: Students need to understand the importance of building relationships via meeting new people. Unless the student makes an effort to find a useful resource, they cannot reap the benefits out of the mentor's shared wisdom. On this occasion, we can modify the famous quote to say "mentors help those who help themselves".
2. Communicate: it is absolutely prudent for the student to communicate their current state and what their aspirations are to the micro-mentor. This should be done with utmost clarity and sincerity for the expert to realize that the student is interested in seeking guidance. If a student doesn't put forward their value proposition, the mentor will not realize what guidance they need to provide.
3. Don't expect prospects: If a micro-mentor agrees to guide a student, the student should consider them as a useful tool for providing knowledge and guidance. They should expect suggestions related to skill development and career formation. Students should NOT consider leeching on the mentor's network and expect the mentor to open job prospects for them. If the mentor considers the students skilled enough, they might automatically give proposals. If the mentee expects too much since the beginning, it can disappoint both mentors and the mentee.
4. Listen: When a mentor agrees to help a student, the least the student can do is listen to what they are offering. Drawing conclusions without understanding their proposition can be fatal for the career prospects of the student. Sometimes even by sharing their own career journey, these mentors provide wisdom unparalleled to any skills that one can acquire. Here are some other things that mentors seek.
So what can we conclude?
Mentors can be found in many walks of life. As discussed before, it is not always in the capacity for universities to provide adequate support in terms of career enhancements. This is where seeking external help comes into play. Students attend numerous events however, none may be useful for their growth and skill development. We understand that and empathize with them.
Therefore, we have built a Social Learning Network where we are facilitating both mentors and mentees to connect with each other. We industry experts from various domains willing to share knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, we encourage all students to come and join Headstrt to find the right mentor for themselves and gain the right skills for the right career path. Our PART 2 of the blog explores the next steps of learning more from industry experts. Till then, we hope to see you making the most of our unique proposition.