Survey: Students Cite First Job Trepidations; Canadian CFOs Share Mistakes to Avoid
Toronto, ON — As college students wrap up their summer internships, jobs and vacations, they may be heading back to school with some anxiety about launching their careers soon. Students polled in a recent survey from Enactus and Accountemps said their biggest fear about starting work is choosing the wrong job and missing out on something else (42 per cent), followed by not learning quickly enough and making mistakes (39 per cent).
But emerging professionals should be concerned about not making a good first impression once hired. Canadian CFOs interviewed in a separate Accountemps survey shared 10 common mistakes made by entry-level staff:
- Consistently coming in late
- Taking too many days off
- Not showing up for work at all
- Not being productive
- Unsure of their duties or role
- Making errors in their work
- Not following instructions
- Disrespecting or arguing with their boss
- Being rude to customers
- Lack of interest or enthusiasm
Staffing firm Accountemps partnered with Enactus, a nonprofit organization of business leaders, academics and students, to conduct the online survey of nearly 600 Enactus student members in the United States. The CFO survey was developed by Accountemps and includes responses from more than 270 CFOs in Canada.
“Finding and securing a first job should be an exciting experience for recent graduates, with new opportunities to develop professional skills, cultivate a network and work toward career goals,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, president of Accountemps. “Dedicating time to research companies of interest and engage with professional associations can help new grads become comfortable with the job search, get familiar with positions available and feel confident in their ability to stand out to potential employers.”
“Experiential learning opportunities complement a student’s post-secondary experience by giving them the opportunity to apply what they learn in a classroom to real-world scenarios, develop new skills and make valuable connections,” says Nicole Almond, president of Enactus Canada. “Taking advantage of these opportunities will make you more attractive to prospective employers.”
Accountemps offers these tips to help students prepare for their job search:
- Tap resources. Ask professors for leads and leverage your school’s career centre. Reach out to alumni for referrals. If you’re a member of a professional organization, attend networking events that might result in a job interview.
- Do your homework. During the job search, treat all tasks like school work. When applying for a job, thoroughly research the company and tailor your resume to the position. Reading up on the company will allow you to get a better feel for the organization and help prepare you for potential questions if you land a job interview.
- Practice makes perfect. Just like you would for a debate or presentation, practice before the interview. You will feel more confident speaking to the interviewer and be able to formulate intelligent, well-thought-out questions when you are given the opportunity to do so.
- Try temporary work. If you’re not sure what position or company is best for you, consider working with a specialized recruiter who can help place you in a temporary role. Think of it as a trial run — you may find you prefer a small company over a large firm or vice versa.
Enactus is a global community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using entrepreneurial action to transform lives, improve livelihoods and shape a better, more sustainable world. The organization provides a platform for teams of university students to create innovative projects that put people's own ingenuity and talents at the center of improving their lives, livelihoods and communities. Guided by educators and supported by business leaders, students depart the comfort of the classroom and the ambiguities of academic theory and engage in real world projects to improve the lives of others. Enactus operates in more than 1,700 universities in 36 countries, with 70,500 student leaders impacting more than 1,950,000 people.