Research consistently shows a gap between what students learn in college and what employers seek in their employees for today’s global economy. Whatever the reasons for this lacuna, graduates should be sufficiently prepared to enter the workplace with appropriate knowledge and adapt to an ever-evolving marketplace.
Filling this gap between college and career will not come easily or quickly, but here are a few workable ideas to help graduates adapt, become a valuable and sought-after talent to lead with career resilience.
‘Parasitic’ Career Journey
Quite a few graduates succumb to the temptation of becoming what I call “Tool Talent”, i.e., they learn a software product to find short-term employment. Logical as this approach may be, it may inadvertently usher them into a “Parasitic career journey” wherein their current and future job prospects, growth, and career fortunes get tied up with that of the market opportunities of the software product.
Over time, this has not only the potential to lower one’s self-esteem, since they begin to feel only as valuable as the product in the market rather than a competent viable product themselves. It can also lead to being made redundant as automation takes over the job tasks. What then? Another certification? Perhaps. But it helps to first address ways to not only value oneself but to understand if their skill-set is constantly aligned (or misaligned as the case may be) with the needs of the market.
Millennials today live in a work world quite different from earlier generations. They will not experience a ‘one job -one career’ path; most will hold myriad of jobs and more than one or two career paths over the decades. For most, this shifting environment can help them realize their potential to survive and grow with multiple capabilities, in multiple environments, resulting in a new kind of “professional versatility” and career resilience. Such “Multipotentialities” (as Emilie Wapnick mentions the term in her Ted talk (https://www.ted.com/speakers/emilie_wapnick) belong to those who can move out of their comfort zones and continuously reinvent themselves with incremental skills and expertise to grow, develop new opportunities in the ever-changing job markets.
Graduates need a growth mindset to develop career resilience. That means they begin to see temporary setbacks as lessons and growing pains and learn to bounce back so that they can pursue the next level of personal and professional growth. It is common knowledge that the failures we experience over time are the lessons that can support success in the future. Being able to incorporate learning from these failures and moving on is essential to achieving success. Maintaining this positive and constructive mindset breeds resilience helps one to approach challenges with excitement, enables continuous learning and reinforces resilience.
Most graduates leave college without critical foundational knowledge for understanding what they must do to be employable. At best, they may take some personality development training. But, these graduates need additional coaching in order to understand the employer’s business, how the firm makes money, and what and how disruptions may impact the business, and where their work fits in the firm’s value chain. Developing this knowledge is an existential necessity to help them face challenges they’ve never encountered before, as well as to comprehend the competitive career path to grow up the value chain.
“One way to support graduates for this existential necessity may be through courses that prepare them to face the changing realities of disruptive workplace and shape their career resilience.”
Being consistently employable means continuously acquiring knowledge and competitive skills for current and future jobs. One way to support graduates for this existential necessity may be through courses that prepare them to face the changing realities of the disruptive workplace and shape their career resilience.
The race to find jobs and do well (by whatever benchmarks) in one’s career has resulted inforgetting that a higher purpose or mission is the reason why we exist. A higher purpose maybe simply following one’s passion or making a positive difference in the lives around us orcreating a legacy.
Conscious pursuit of a higher purpose for life bestows phenomenal career resilience since it might enable the experience of the union with one’s life’s “mission.” In other words, you become the purpose that you live for. Such pursuit also fosters enormous drive and energy to overcome temporary setbacks and stay the course to attain goals, whether these goals are altruistic or not.
At TrainedArrow.com, we have developed LearnAhead™ – a holistic online L&D course to prepare graduates for employability, workplace contextual acumen, and career resilience.
This quick and easy animated self-paced learning helps graduates prepare to:
- Identify and prepare to win job opportunities
- Lead at work, meet employer expectations
- Create and succeed in new career pathways
- Think big, think different and evolve as entrepreneurs
- Develop a career with fulfillment and a higher purpose for life!
Foundations for winning!