Am I ready for the job market?

Career & Education

Am I ready for the job market?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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Dear Career Advisor:I have completed my degree and I am actively seeking jobs, but I think I am at a disadvantage because most employers are asking for applicants with experience and unfortunately, my programme of study did not include an internship and I was unsuccessful in securing a not-for-credit one. In addition to the lack of experience, I worry that I may lack career readiness skills. What tips can you give to help me ensure that employers deem me ready for the job market?

Yours,

Oliver

Dear Oliver:

Commendations on your academic achievements, this is a significant accomplishment on your career journey.

Indeed, employers value applicants with relevant or at least some form of workplace experience. The practical lessons gleaned from being in an actual workplace environment are invaluable. Nonetheless, all is not lost if you don't have it. You may offer as evidence experience gained from active involvement in community service and extracurricular activities.

You can have a fair appreciation of your readiness for the job market through critical self-assessment and a posture that values improvement of self. We have found the definition of career readiness by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) very useful and will summarise it here for your guidance.

It says career readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace”. Based on its extensive research among employers, the organisation has identified seven competencies that are purported to be indicative of career readiness. They are:

• Critical thinking/problem solving: The ability to analyse issues, make decisions and solve problems.

• Oral/written communication: The ability to clearly articulate thoughts and ideas orally or in writing to audiences inside or outside of the organisation.

• Teamwork/collaboration: The ability to build collaborative relationships within a team structure, negotiate and manage conflicts and by so doing foster productivity.

• Digital technology: The ability to leverage existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. This includes adaptability to new and emerging technologies.

• Leadership: The ability to leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and to use interpersonal skills to coach, develop, and motivate others.

• Professionalism/work ethic: The ability to demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, for example, punctuality and time and workload management, and understanding the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image.

• Career management: The ability to identify and articulate your skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth.

• Global/intercultural fluency: The ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals' differences. Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.

For additional information on the subject, visit the NACE website at https://www.naceweb.org/career-readiness/competencies/career-readiness-defined/.

All the best,

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at careeradvisor@ncu.edu.jm.


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