You are a well-prepared graduate ready to enter the workforce after earning your degree, ready to show off your hard-earned skill set. As you prepare for graduation and the job search, be mindful that some employers are hoping for new hires to be polished in the area of “soft skills” too. As a soon-to-be or recent college graduate, you may be asking, “Well, I’m confident in my training in the area of my degree, but what exactly are these ‘soft skills’ of which you speak?”
Serving as a complement to the “hard skills” you learned specifically for your chosen profession, soft skills are essential business skills that help you navigate the workplace and collaborate with co-workers and clients, thus rounding out your career readiness Recently, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)—the leading source of information on the employment of the college educated—partnered with a task force of college career services and HR/staffing professionals to develop a definition of “career readiness.” Based on its extensive research, NACE identified these eight competencies:
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
Some ways that you can be prepared are “to become more self-aware and more adept to think and question critically, as well as learn to be better communicators and develop a personal brand that not only reflects who [you] are, but that is also professional and appropriate for business situations” said Lou Guthrie, Workforce Analytics Manager with LED’s FastStart program.
“In the past, I think employers were willing to take more time training and teaching new employees about the company and how to work with clients,” stated Guthrie. “Now, they have the expectation and the need to hire people that are more job ready. Employees also leave companies at a much faster rate, so employers don’t want to invest as much in career readiness training. They want team members who can jump in and be revenue builders from day one.”
As a way to help you and other students be fully prepared for digital and tech jobs in Louisiana, LED FastStart’s Workforce Initiatives group is partnering with DXC Technologies in New Orleans and other tech clients around the state to create a new program/curriculum for tech students to learn the soft skills needed to enhance career readiness when they join the workforce. Currently, several Louisiana colleges and universities are helping to develop the Campus to Career program, which is geared specifically for Louisiana’s emerging technical industry.
Guthrie added, “While the recent grads are technically proficient, many new DXC hires have trouble communicating with clients, adjusting to workplace dress codes and adopting an overall professional demeanor. When we later focus grouped the ideas with different tech-based companies, we discovered they also faced the same issues.”
The Campus to Career program hopes to address all these learned skills so that students have all the tools they need to enter the workforce fully prepared. In conjunction with the 2020 debut of the Campus to Career program, targeting the tech industry, Louisiana Job Connection will feature a blog series that shares Campus to Career tips and insight from experts on ways to enhance soft skills before entering the workforce. Stay tuned to learn how to combine the proficiencies you mastered in college with the essential business skills needed to navigate the workplace and so you can begin building a strong personal brand as you start your career.
In the meantime, don’t forget to use Louisiana Job Connection to find that new career, whether you’re a recent college grad or seasoned professional. Complete your free profile on Louisiana Job Connection today!