Focusing on Real-World Skills

Despite some employers expressing concern over the preparedness of new grads (see my blog, Are People Forgetting the People Skills?), a new study indicates many find graduates are “coming out well-positioned.” The Association of American Colleges and Universities reports that 65 percent of surveyed employers believe graduates have the necessary skills to succeed (Mixed Grades for Grads and Assessment).

The study raises suspicions for me as new grads are rated highest in teamwork, ethical judgment, inter-cultural skills and social responsibility, yet lowest in global knowledge. Because inter-cultural skills and social responsibility coincide with global knowledge, I wonder how grads can score high in these areas but low in the global awareness.

What does seem clear from the poll is that employers desire students to be evaluated on a more individual basis, as opposed to standardized multiple-choice type tests. Most said it would be more effective if grads completed senior projects to prove their analyzing, problem-solving and writing abilities. The majority also indicated it would be helpful to see internship reviews in order to evaluate how a grad’s academic skills translate into the “real-world”.

Students should take note of what employers are looking for and adapt to this. A sure way to achieve this is through internships. They will not only better prepare you but further show employers that you have what it takes. Also, don’t be afraid to point out your “real-world” skills during interviews. Employers will be impressed with what you have to offer their company. Utilizing these tips will ensure that you stand from the competition.

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