Jeff Selingo's Three Recommendations for Preparing Students for the 21st Century Workforce

Jeff Selingo, New York Times best-selling author of “There is Life After College” and keynote speaker for our 2018 CSM Symposium, gave an engaging speech on how to prepare students for the ever-changing workforce. Below are his three recommendations to properly prepare students for the jobs of the future:

1. Make Career Services More Accessible From Day One

The purpose of attending a higher education institution is to get a job, so of course, career centers need to guide their students toward a career path that they will be happy with. Students need to experience varying opportunities to get a better understanding of what they want to do in the workforce. It's important that students learn how to market themselves in the best way possible. Career services are an excellent resource for career guidance, resume building, internships, job opportunities, and salary expectations. The earlier students understand their needs, the sooner they will be able to make the right choices to achieve their goals.

“We really need, as institutions, to start treating career services as the next big student amenity. We need to treat it like we do student success and retention efforts, and spend the amount of money and effort on it that we've done on student retention over the last couple of years."


2. Provide Vocational, Hands-on Training Alongside a Formal Education

Exposure to multiple skills is a very important step before entering the workforce. This is not just about receiving credit for classes, it's also about gaining knowledge from real-world scenarios, which does not receive credit. Hands-on training is invaluable in business. Of course, students can follow a syllabus and pass the class, but learning also comes from day to day experiences. This is why career planning at an early age is so important, so students can be exposed to what fits them, and what doesn't.

“It's not about picking a career at that young age but it's about exposing students to the options available to them and the pathways that lead to those jobs. That's the key to integrating career planning from day one."


3. Assist Students in Crafting Their Career Narrative

Resumes are important, but being able to elaborate and expand on it to interviewers is crucial to students' success. Students should be able to talk about their work experiences, what skills they've learned, and how those skills relate to the position they are applying for. Each candidate should have a personal story that states where they come from and where you want to go.

“We need to help students craft their story so that they are able to articulate their skills and how these could transfer to a job."


If you would like to hear more from Jeff, check out his Q&A from Symposium here.

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