Career Readiness: Acquiring the Skills Needed for Success
Matthew Ponder teaches Geography at Eastfield College in Mesquite, TX.
Today’s job market is incredibly competitive. This is especially so for new college graduates, who are expected to not only have the basic people skills needed in a professional environment but the technical acumen to go with it. Having some key software proficiencies and experience on a resume may be the catalyst for a student to get a foot in the door, but soft skills and professionalism will play a key role in students’ continued success.
Career Readiness in Students—Or Lack Thereof
The National Association of Colleges and Employers outlines eight core competencies for career readiness:
- Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
- Oral/Written Communication
- Digital Technology
- Professionalism/Work Ethic
- Career Management
- Global/Intercultural fluency
These encompass both hard and soft skills and highlight the need for students to be well-rounded as they enter the workforce. This is an area of concern among employers of new graduates. An article published by CareerBuilder noted that 50% of employers believe that new college graduates lack interpersonal and people skills.
While there are several ways to foster critical thinking, problem solving and technical skills, instructors should also be focusing on developing interpersonal skills within the classroom through collaboration and teamwork.
The Solution: Promoting Hard and Soft Skill Development
I recently did an Empowered Educators webinar on “3 Ways To Get Students Career-Ready In Any Course.” These included fostering software proficiencies, promoting project management skills and exposing students to industry insights and opportunities. While these tips can improve several of the core competency areas highlighted above, instructors can go even further to help students in all these areas by:
Helping Progress Interpersonal and Leadership Skills
Every class has individuals that we would consider “natural born leaders.” The students who are not afraid of getting up in front of the class, answering questions or volunteering to be the team leader on the class project. While these are admirable traits that we should promote in those students, it’s the ones lacking these skills—the quiet and disengaged students—that can benefit the most by taking on leadership roles and working with teams in the class.
Observe Hiring Trends and Incorporate Insights into Instruction
Observing hiring trends and industry feedback is a critical step toward nurturing success for students, post-graduation. Considering many employers view recent graduates as lacking the crucial skills for success in the workplace, incorporating hiring trends and industry insights into your instruction ensures students have the necessary skills to hit the ground running.
Want Even More Career Readiness Tips and Insights?
Check out my recent webinar, 3 Ways To Get Students Career-Ready In Any Course.” In it, I explore the different ways I’ve integrated career readiness skills into my courses—while highlighting tips and tricks you can use to empower students for success in and out of class.