What College Grads Don’t Know About the Working World

Getting that first job can be an eye-opening experience for a new college grad. One person willing to give new grads some advice is blogger Laura Pierson. Pierson is a former English teacher who now works in the Human Resources Recruiting department of a large Fortune 500 company. She is passionate about recruiting, employee benefits, and employee relations. In her spare time, Laura is a freelance writer and blogger for FreeResumeBuilder. Here’s what she has to say.

What College Grads Don’t Know About the Working World.

Many recent college grads leave the halls of their classrooms with a fresh, eager zest for the working world. Many send resumes to multiple job openings, attend job fairs in their spiffy new suits, and go to interviews expecting both the best and the worst. What recent grads don’t know is that the working world is way different than college. It’s also way different than it was ten years ago.

Current employers could care less about your college courses, unless if you studied something very specific such as Engineering or Computer Science. You can’t learn how to run a business from a book, that’s why most employers will hardly look at your resume if you don’t have work experience.

So instead of approaching the business world with what you consider to be “business expertise,” approach your employers and coworkers with a desire to learn. Even if you know you’re a Microsoft Excel whiz and you can run circles around everyone in your office, Pretend that they know so much more than you. Win people over by – here’s the kicker – acting “stupid.” Admit to your lack of experience. Trust me, this will win your co-workers over as they will be very eager to “teach” you the things they have learned.

Remember, people are not always going to want to “be your friend.” You will have friendly coworkers. But other coworkers will go out of their way to avoid you, bad-mouth you, or even try to make you look bad. Your first few weeks in an entry level position may feel a lot like a Fraternity or Sorority hazing period. No one is going to congratulate you for a “job well done” every time you do something right. So, keep your head down, be polite, and do your work. Over time, this will pass and you’ll be able to pick your allies.

Ten years ago competition for jobs was less intense. Recent grads received at least $5,000-$10,000 more per year than they are offered today. For example, an Entry Level Business Analyst was offered about $50,000 per year in 2004, whereas today he or she might be offered $40,000. Ten years ago, internships were easy to come by, and many employers ran to college campuses to fight over the best candidates.

Probably the most important thing every new grad should know is that food wins every game of office politics. Are you looking for a promotion? Are you looking for higher pay? Maybe you want more of your coworkers to like you. Bring in cake! Bring in cookies! Have your Grandma Sophie make a delicious casserole or pot pie. People in the working world are naturally comfortable in their office chairs. They love comfort food, especially free comfort food.

And lastly, young college grads should remember that a job is just a job. Leave your work at work. After my fourth month of working full time, my director, who has been working in Human Resources in over 20 years, came up to me and said, “Don’t take this job too seriously, dear. Remember, family is most important.” Her words still ring true to me today. If you start working in your early 20s, you want to be able to live up those precious years before 30. Remember to make time for friends, family, hobbies, and personal goals.

How to prepare for a phone interview

Q: I have been scheduled for a phone interview with a prospective employer. What should I expect and how should I prepare?

A: Organizations often will schedule an interview over the phone to help them get to the next step. In many cases, this is referred to as a “phone screen”, and is conducted by a recruiter to determine if you are “in the ballpark”. The recruiter has already seen your resume and perhaps already researched you online. Questions asked are those which might not automatically be included in a cover letter or resume, such as salary requirements and your availability. In preparation, set aside a quiet space to take the call and have your resume on hand as reference. Try to convey enthusiasm about the job and organization, as the nonverbal cues are limited to those in your voice.

Productivity Decline Frequently Driven by Poor Employee Health

Findings from a new study out of Brigham Young University, the Health Enhancement Research Organization, and the Center for Health Research at Healthways, has found that unhealthy lifestyle choices often result in high levels of lost production at work.

The study concluded that employees with unhealthy diets were two-thirds more likely to experience a loss in productivity than those eating a highly nutritious diet. Employees exercising only occasionally or less were 50 percent more likely to perform at lower levels than regular exercisers. Smokers were 28 percent more likely to report decreased productivity over non-smokers.

“Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses,” said lead author Ray Merrill, a Professor in the Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University. “This study, which analyzes an unusually large and geographically dispersed population, represents a more comprehensive understanding of the multitude of factors that drive presenteeism, thereby improving employers’ ability to meaningfully address this issue.”

Employees with difficulties exercising during the day were 96 percent more likely to experience productivity loss. Employees eating little to no fruits and vegetables at work were 93 percent more likely to have high productivity loss. Also, those who felt their work environment was not supportive of a healthy lifestyle were more likely to experience decreasing productivity levels.

“We know that comprehensively measuring well-being helps employers take steps to understand the drivers of lost productivity in their setting and take pertinent steps to reduce it. Our research confirms that employee productivity loss is associated with low well-being, poor health behaviors, elevated health risks, and the presence of chronic disease,” said Dr. James Pope, vice president and chief science officer, Healthways, Inc. “This information is significant because the number of employees with excess body fat, poor diets, diabetes and sedentary lifestyles has risen to unprecedented levels in the nation.”

ADP Reports More Than 150,000 Jobs Added in July

ADP Employer Services said U.S. companies added more jobs than expected in July, according to a Bloomberg report.

The New Jersey-based company reported an increase of 163,000 jobs at U.S. companies, which followed ADP’s June report of 172,000 jobs gained.

Increased hiring means consumers are earning more, which might prompt them to spend more.
Bloomberg separately surveyed 38 economists, and the projected estimate for job growth ranged from 75,000 to 180,000.

Bloomberg reported that since 2010, ADP’s initial estimates on job growth either overestimated or underestimated the Labor Department’s initial look at private payrolls by 72,000 on average. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were off by 58,000 jobs on average.

Goods-production industries increased workers by 15,000, according to the Bloomberg report. Employment in the construction industry rose by 5,000, and factory jobs by 6,000. Payrolls for service providers increased by 148,000.

Large companies of 499 employees or more added 23,000 jobs, medium-sized companies (50-499 employees) added 67,000 jobs and small businesses increased payroll by 73,000, according to ADP.

The report from ADP is based on data from businesses with more than 21 million workers on payrolls. ADP partnered with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC in St. Louis to produce the data.