A Tip for College Grads: Attitude is Everything

May commencement ceremonies are happening all across the country, and roughly 2 million college graduates are entering the workforce. Unfortunately, one in three graduates do not feel college prepared them well for employment. We’ve got some advice.

In a recent study by McKinsey & Co., one in three graduates of four-year colleges feel their education did not prepare them for the world of work. Graduates of two-year institutions reported similar results. However, of the graduates who participated in internships, part-time work or mentorship programs, 77% said college prepared them well for employment, the study said.

Meanwhile, a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 48% of employed college grads are in jobs that require less than a four-year degree. Many feel overqualified.

It’s quite the conundrum. Not only are recent grads struggling to find fulfilling work, they now have to find ways to pay off their student loans.

In the manufacturing world, there’s a misperception that manufacturing is dirty with little upside. That’s no longer true. As Jerry Jasinowski, former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a recent blog, “The modern manufacturing plant is straight out of science fiction, the work is exciting and ever changing, and opportunities abound.” He added, however, “Applicants must be adept with math, science and computers, and be able to constantly relearn their jobs.”

Let’s be honest, change is constant for every person in every industry. We are all learning to do more with less and adapt to new technology. If you want to acquire the skills needed in today’s workforce, you have to have the right attitude.

In a recent column, NY Times best-selling author Dave Kerpen recounted his first job selling Crunch ’n Munch at Fenway Park and the Boston Garden. Instead of just hawking buttery toffee popcorn, he changed his attitude and gave himself a “promotion.” He would become an entertainer, dancing and singing while he sold his product. His sales tripled.

Kerpen’s goofy dancing became a feature in the ballpark, and he gave himself another promotion: local celebrity. He became the Crunch ’n Munch Guy and began autographing boxes. He was featured in national magazines and television programs, even ESPN Sportscenter. As a college kid he made upward of $500 a night.

Change your attitude. Think differently. Your intentions shape your reality.

NOTE: At Master Power Transmission, we love being Hoosiers. In a recent study, our neighbor to the north, Indianapolis, was named the No. 1 Best City for Money-Savvy College Grads. With a low cost of living and a respectable wage premium, Indianapolis has a unemployment rate of just 1.9% for people with bachelor’s degrees, according to CreditDonkey.com. Check out the complete Top 10 list.

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