Book review: The Graduate Edge

May 5, 2018 | Development

ISE Chief Executive, Stephen Isherwood turns the pages of Josh Mackenzie’s The Graduate Edge, finding sound advice as well as a personal reminder of good practice. 

Managing up is the skill graduates starting work are least likely to have. Maybe more of them should read the latest edition of The Graduate Edge as its author, Josh Mackenzie, devotes four pages to the subject. Sound advice he offers too, as in the rest of this well written book.

With young people less likely to work part-time at school and the number of internships limited by company resources, managing a student’s transition into a full-time career is becoming more of a challenge, particularly as career pathways and the skills needed to follow them are less clear.

As I read through the book I was mentally checking off the skills and attributes that our research suggests graduates need to develop and I found them all covered, from presenting well to leading difficult conversations, and many others besides. This shouldn’t be a surprise though as Josh and his team have built a highly successful business running graduate development programmes for many of the world’s top organisations.

Trainers have had to tackle many of the development areas covered in this book over the years and Josh wisely references many of the thought leaders that have developed techniques proven to work. 

But he also makes space for issues that weren’t around when I was a graduate. 

My boat club antics, thank God, aren’t online for all to see, but it’s important that graduates manage their online footprint and learn what’s appropriate for the workplace when it comes to social media. 

And on a personal level, as I read I found myself revising some of the learning I’ve been exposed to through my career. I realised that I was revisiting good practice that I’ve perhaps let slip over the years.

As is often the case with employment skills, it’s those who already have a growth mindset that search for learning opportunities and experiences and it is they who are most likely to immerse themselves in the chapters of this book. 

But as Josh points out in an early chapter, you can choose to have a growth mindset. Those that do and learn the lessons in this book will transition quickly into the workplace and go on to have rewarding careers.

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