What School Teaches Us
From elementary school to university, as students we are taught that our academic performance is of utmost importance when it comes to securing a job of any kind. Test scores, homework, essays, presentations, any assessment that quantifies your class standing will supposedly determine whether or not you will achieve the career of your dreams. From a young and impressionable age we are conditioned to believe that creating flashcards to memorize vocabulary terms from our summer reading book will be what makes or breaks our chances at a prestigious university. Once we are accepted into that prestigious university, we are conditioned to believe that our presentation on neoclassical art is what decides our chances at being hired by a well-established company.
Academic culture around the world conflates school performance with career prospects rather than instilling a key fact–employers will not ask about your summer reading book or your presentation on classical antiquity. Those assignments teach us about a wide range of subjects that will enrich us as students and ultimately introduce us to potential career paths we may be interested in. For example, a successful science fair project may inspire a child to pursue engineering. However, it is imperative for educators and career counselors to separate the two when it comes to establishing goals and realistic expectations so that the skills a student develops can actually be put into use.
What Employers Are Looking For
As we emerge into an evolving job market post-COVID-19 with remote working opportunities and virtual methods of incurring a stable income, the skills employers are actually looking for have changed significantly. Previous generations may have concluded that a degree in business from a four-year university was sufficient, but as the number of degree holders increases the merits of it decrease.
Skills such as public speaking, writing, facilitating team meetings, coordinating logistical details, and working well under pressure sound simple but are imperative because they are necessary everyday. Expertise in these areas develop by experience, therefore securing an internship as a university student will allow you to get a head start so that upon graduation you are well-prepared. For more information on how to find an internship, read our article here.
It is important to note that there are a variety of other skills that will allow you to build your resume and truly capitalize on the new opportunities presented in the time of the internet. If you are pursuing a degree in subjects such as business, communications, journalism, or marketing, valuable skills you can capitalize on are video editing and social media branding. Savviness when it comes to catching an audience’s attention in a digital space is something to solidify because prospective employers in those industries will recognize the value you are bringing to the table. Hiring managers are always looking for ways to make their company stand out, and the skills you put on your resume tell them that you can make that happen.
If you are pursuing a degree in subjects such as finance, computer science, or software engineering, a valuable skill you can capitalize on is blockchain technology. Understanding cryptocurrency and how to maximize a company’s potential in blockchain technology in a period of Bitcoin and Ethereum will ascend your resume to the top of the application pile as those skills are rare yet incredibly valuable. Much like social media branding, these talents are very new and continue to change the job market in terms of what is possible in landing your dream job.
Lastly, being multilingual can present an abundance of career opportunities as you would be able to connect with a multitude of businesses, clients, and partners. Proficiency in foreign languages is often overlooked, however through globalization and the world getting smaller with the internet, entering the international market by dismantling language barriers will continue to be powerful. For five tips on how to become multilingual, read our article here.