It goes without saying that the class of 2020 faces unprecedented challenges. Dubbed the “Corona Class of 2020,” students across the world are facing an uncertain future when it comes to their prospects in the job market. However, what skills do students need during this pandemic to successfully land them a job? Both research and the job market indicate that soft skills are in high demand.
Career experts have agreed for a few years now that universities have a responsibility to consider the employability of their students by providing them with the best support for “future-proofing” students in a changing work landscape. Even prior to COVID-19, experts were seeing a general trend in automation, but that the pandemic has only accelerated this push. Yet automation has spotlighted the need for employees to have soft skills. Now, universities will need to be in a position to provide their students with tools for showcasing soft skills necessary in a post COVID-19 world, now more than ever.
These soft skills, employers say, attributes to increase interpersonal communication and company collaboration. These skills include flexibility, teamwork, adaptability, resilience, communication, problem solving, and creativity. In fact, Fast Company says that “adaptability should be [a] new hire’s top soft skill.”
So what can career services staff do? Hold mindfulness and soft skills virtual workshops and webinars, if you aren’t already doing so. Here are some suggested workshop ideas:
- Conduct virtual mock interviews with students so that they are prepared for what recruits are looking for when vaulting an applicant such as “Name a time when you had to adapt during a challenging situation?; Tell me about a time you had to shift priorities and how you handled that?”;
- Share training videos with your students on what soft skills encompass;
- Host one-on-one video conferencing sessions with students to help them identify what soft skills they can showcase on their resume and with recruiters; and
- Host webinars with campus mindfulness experts and coaches to show students how they can utilize these tools for a job search and throughout their life.
Utilizing virtual resources has helped career services staff around the UK, as The Guardian reported in June, continue to serve students during this busier than normal time. Claire Guy, a career advisor at a Russel Group University, told The Guardian, “We’ve always run workshops on developing a positive mindset, but there’s a new flavour to that now. There’s not just a need [for students] to be resilient about job rejections, but about the fact they might have to change their whole career plan.”
Symplicity UniHub can help career services staff continue to adapt to a changing work landscape. Symplicity UniHub provides students with the tools and connections they need to enhance their employability while preparing to succeed in today’s job market. Not only does UniHub provide students with the largest employer network, but it is uniquely equipped to provide staff with the ability to track post-graduation outcomes and translate it into meaningful trends that will resonate with stakeholders. UniHub enables institutions to measure and report on critical KPIs around student engagement, streamline student and employer outreach, and run robust OCR and experiential learning programs.