Being Competitive in Tomorrow’s Workforce
The year was 1989.
We saw the birth of the World Wide Web, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the television debut of The Simpsons, and my epic walk onto the stage to receive my high school diploma.
As I proceeded to college, I used the skills that I had learned in high school: doing research using a card catalog, typing reports using an electric typewriter, and doing accounting class projects that required a calculator, a pencil, and a lot of erasers.
If I were to list these skills on my resume today, I would be considered an unqualified candidate.
You may wonder how a college student with outdated skills became an online technology teacher.
It’s simple, really. By updating my skill sets and being able to evolve with new advancements in technology, I honed the skills to which I am referring. Those skills are soft, hard, and transferable.
Here is a quick explanation of each of the skills:
Soft skills are interpersonal skills that we use to interact with others. Examples of this would include communication, time management, organization, listening, and thinking critically.
Hard skills are specialized skills we have learned by taking classes or learning a specialized trade. Examples of this would include a foreign language or a specialized automotive certification.
Transferable skills are ones that you can take from one job to another. An example would be taking your soft skill and hard skill knowledge from previous jobs and applying it to a new job.
By combining my knowledge from my previous jobs with my hard and soft skills, I was able to obtain employment as an online teacher.
Today’s companies look for employees who possess both soft and hard skills. Employers know that employees can learn hard skills on the job. However, critical thinking and problem solving cannot be learned as easily on the job. So how do we teach these skills to our students so they can be college and career ready?
FLVS Career and Technical Education courses provide students with learning opportunities that teach them to be lifelong learners. Soft skills are infused throughout the courses, and in activities like collaboration, students learn about problem solving with peers and providing constructive feedback. Students learn hard skills through specialized courses like Digital Information Technology.
I often hear students say, “I’ve never had a job! What am I going to put on my resume?”
This question is a great opportunity to discuss transferable skills with the student. You can ask them if they have you ever held an internship, volunteered, participated in extracurricular activities, traveled the world, babysat, or mowed lawns. If so, those are great examples of transferable skills. Together, discuss how they displayed skills such as leadership, problem solving, responsibility, and time management. Next, help them compose the information for their resume.
Well-rounded employees are what today’s employers are looking for in the workplace.
Ensure that your student has soft, hard, and transferable skills to stand out in the job market. I will leave you with this quote…
There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. – J. Krishnamurti
Photo credit: Jeff Keyzer (Goodwill Computer Museum)