Workforce Readiness: Are Young Professionals Prepared?


Every now and then I experience the horrors of leaving my laptop at home before a busy workday. Mostly, I‘m forced to take meeting notes the old-fashioned way: paper and pencil.  I inevitably find myself with pages of incomprehensible chicken scratch and looking for ice to tend to my cramped writing hand. I sometimes think to myself, “It may have been more efficient to simply text myself meeting notes- at least I could read them afterwards!” Sadly, the realization of my dependency on technology and autocorrect set in, and I make empty promises to myself to improve my penmanship to be better prepared for whatever work may throw at me- technology deficits and all.  

As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, I see job candidates of all walks of life; from young inexperienced professionals to seasoned workplace veterans. The variance in knowledge, skills, and abilities between candidates never ceases to amaze me, but does one type of candidate have an advantage over another? Most argue that recent high school or even college graduates are not as well-equipped to take their role in the workplace due to poor primary education prep, technology dependencies, and other challenges resulting in young professionals’ skewed expectations on workforce readiness.

So what can young and naive professionals do to guard themselves against the pitfalls of professional inexperience and ignorance?

Brush up on your interview and workplace etiquette.  Please don’t show up late to an interview wearing a wrinkled button-down and sneakers (unless that is the employer’s workplace culture!).

Keep your writing skills sharp. Employers are less inclined to hire or promote an employee with consistent grammar and spelling errors- don’t forget to proof read! 

Absorb as much information as you can. Have you found you are lacking the knowledge necessary to be successful in your new job? Conduct some research, consider obtaining professional memberships, or find a mentor to gain the knowledge you need.

Be patient and look at the big picture. Expecting to land a c-level position after college graduation will unavoidably lead to disappointment, frustration, and a false sense of entitlement. It’s okay to start small!

What one piece of advice would you give to a young professional making their first adventure into the workforce?

Looking for more information and insight on workforce readiness? Please join @shrmnextchat at 3:00pm EST on September 9 for a SHRM Young Professionals #Nextchat: Not Quite Ready for the Workforce to see how employers and HR can help!


The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my current employer. 



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