One In Four Executives Say New Grads Have Unrealistic Job Expectations

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Students are often encouraged to be “big thinkers” in college and university; however a new survey reveals that one in four advertising and marketing executives find that new post-secondary grads need to get real when it comes to expectations in terms of salary and job responsibilities for their first job.

“Everyone wants to work with big thinkers,” says Alicia Brum, Division Director of The Creative Group. “[The problem arises] when grads have unrealistic expectations of salary and length of job.”

“Researching average starting salaries and skills in demand can help first-time job seekers obtain a realistic sense of the job market in their area.” —Lara Dodo, Canadian Regional Manager, The Creative Group

Students are sheltered from the “real world”

Recent Ryerson University journalism grad Christine Fitzgerald says she thinks students aren’t as aware as they should be of what they can expect from their first position because universities and colleges are such closed environments.

“You’re so sheltered in [university and college]. A lot of grads don’t know what the real world is like,” she says. “They’re in for a rude awakening when they search for their first job.”

Fitzgerald says she thinks she has real expectations of the job market in her industry and says she doesn’t expect to have her dream job right off the bat. Her most important goal is to gain experience.

“Researching average starting salaries and skills in demand can help first-time job seekers obtain a realistic sense of the job market in their area,” says Lara Dodo, Canadian Regional Manager of The Creative Group.

The interview is the most important aspect of job hunting

The survey also found that if a grad wants to land the job, they’ll have to ace their interview: 35% of the executives surveyed said that they place the most importance on this first meeting.

Brum stresses that grads should do their homework and come prepared with appropriate questions before they step into the interview. “Coming with your research done shows that you’re interested and truly committed to working for them,” she says.

Dodo adds, “Applicants who thoroughly prepare for employment interviews – by learning about the company and determining how their unique skills and background can benefit the firm – are in the best position to impress hiring managers and, ultimately, receive an offer.”

Fitzgerald says she thinks grads should show that they meet the employer’s expectations but also have something new to bring to the table. “You want to show that you’ll fit into the team, but also that you bring fresh ideas and new perspectives.”

The survey was developed by The Creative Group – a specialized staffing service that provides interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals on a project and full-time basis – and conducted by an independent research firm. The results of the survey are based on 250 phone interviews, approximately 200 with randomly selected marketing executives and 50 advertising executives.

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About the author

Sam Sim is a journalism student at Ryerson University and an aspiring entertainment lawyer. She has been published in CBC.ca , Metro Newspaper and t.o.night. Sam is a TV junkie, mint chocolate lover and a sucker for French macarons. You can follow @sammy_sim on Twitter.