The Graduates of the 21st Century

With 92 days to go before dissertation hand-in and then the long-awaited freedom of the BAPR students of Bournemouth University, many of us have started the somewhat terrifying hunt for post-graduation roles. I recently posted a list of various Graduate Schemes for this year but it's not just the prospect of finding suitable jobs in a recession, you have to be the one they want to hire.

According to The Guardian, almost half of graduates are 'ill-equipped for the world of work'. This article focuses on the relevance of degree-choices to actual job choices... but I've noticed something of an attitude; a belief among this generation of graduates that also makes them ill-equipped for the world of work.


I've heard so many stories of late of truly talented people kicked off graduate schemes, fired, or, for want of a nicer word, forced into resignation simply due to their attitude. It seems like such a minor thing but sadly, some of these stories have led to black marks on people's professional records.

A while ago, I met a PR graduate who said he simply wouldn't apply to any company asking for more than his CV, because it should showcase his wealth of experience enough without writing more meaningless essays and completing interview tasks... Myself included, graduates and interns today seem to have an 'untouchable' self-belief in themselves. Believing themselves to be of a higher standard than someone who should photocopy or make tea, believing that as a graduate, they are experts in the area and should be appreciated as such. The truth of the matter is that actually after studying the subject, you then start at the bottom and learn from all those around you, we all have different strengths, and different weaknesses.

My mother teaches A-Level students and when I asked her about students' attitudes, she said that in general, we were much more cocky, much more selfish and much more ungrateful than former generations, but that said, society had made us that way by forcing us to grow up too early and not have a childhood. She holds exams accountable for this. I've been sitting semi-serious exams for the past eight years - I think they may have only just ended. And if she's right, which, she usually is, we're throwing away our futures due to something in our pasts. If I were apply that to my personal life, I'd be a very lonely woman.

I truly believe that each day you learn something new but sometimes I have to remind myself that each person can also teach you something new. I've met some people in the industry who are so different to me in every possible way but even they've had things to teach me. One of my most note-worthy lessons was the office politics that came from such personalities, but even something as trivial as that was something new to learn, hold on to for the future and has made me a better professional.

As Winston Churchill once said, 'Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.'

Jessica North

Author & Editor

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