The one thing employers really want from this year's college grads

In a word, respect, according to 2017 PRWeek Outstanding Student Tish Carmona.

As a May 2017 graduate with one foot in the professional world and the other stuck in college, I’ve had the unique opportunity to see what sets my peers apart when searching for full-time jobs in public relations. Internship experiences, connections, and leadership positions matter to employers, but there is one intangible detail that differentiates the one who gets the job from the one who is left hunting: respect.

Respect is not the first thing people think of when evaluating a job-seeker’s personality, but if the employee candidate is respectful, there are several key qualities that will develop as a result.

The employee will be a hard worker
When employees respect their bosses, they care about the work they produce. They put effort into their responsibilities, and they understand there is a hierarchy of power that should be maintained. Disappointing a boss should not be taken lightly, and respectful employees will take constructive criticism and work harder to achieve the boss’ desired results.

The employee will understand the function of everyone in the organization
It is just as important to communicate up as it is to communicate down in any organization. This means maintaining respectful dialogue with superiors is just as important as building relationships with those who work at a lower level. I’ve seen professional athletes introduce themselves to the maintenance staff at the players’ training facility, and that comes from respecting the work each individual does to make an organization successful. It should not matter what level an employee is because respect should be universal. 

The employee will try to cultivate positive relationships with coworkers regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or other
The PR industry is becoming more diverse, and with that comes the need for understanding people of different ethnicities, genders, or other characteristics. Navigating the workforce can be difficult for a newcomer, but respect can foster positive interactions between individuals. When an employee understands that every other employee, regardless of personal attributes, is there to support the organization and has valuable input to contribute, he or she will be more willing to establish meaningful relationships with others.

Respect is a valuable trait that should be at the baseline of every employee’s personality. From there, respect can be earned, developed, and maintained throughout the course of one’s professional life. For recent graduates, now is the time to show the respect necessary to succeed in this industry.

Patricia Carmona is a senior at the University of Maryland at College Park. She won the PRWeek Award for 2017 U.S. Outstanding Student.

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