By Ariana Jackson - November 30th, 2018
When applying for a job, you may think a degree and technical skills on their own are enough to get your foot in the door — but more is needed for continued career success and advancement. In recent years, employers have reported a “gap” for their employees in the realm of “soft skills”. This means that while the employees they hire may have a thorough understanding of the tools and programs — as well as the knowledge — needed to do their jobs, the soft skills they use on the job are leaving much to be desired in the eyes of employers.
With most of the focus on theoretical and applied knowledge in education, many students aren’t as focused on identifying the gaps in their career skills, as they advance in their educational journeys. Assessments such as PAIRIN can help people identify their soft skills strengths and the soft skills that need improvement. When students and professionals become aware of the gaps in their skill sets, they are better prepared to approach education in a way that enables them to address those areas that need improvement.
SuccessReady® Career Skills is a relatively new concept, but the need to prepare modern learners to excel in the workplace has always been a part of college education. At CSU Global, these competencies are now being presented in a way that is clearer and more apparent to students and employers, by displaying them in the course work.
Employers don’t just want the “hard skills” and technical knowledge; they also need adequate skills that are considered less tangible — such as creativity, critical thinking, and time management — from employees. Employers report frustration because they do not have the resources to teach these skills in the workplace. They hire employees with the trust that they have acquired these skills in their educational paths. In CSU Global’s curriculum, these are the areas of focus for SuccessReady® Career Skills:
- New Foundational Skills — Standards for what employers seek in employees, including relationship-building, problem-solving, and decision-making.
- Baseline Skills — This falls under the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) framework of theoretical and applied knowledge, and include critical-thinking, active listening, and time management.
- Business-enabling skills — Industry-specific skills that employers seek. They are the abilities needed to thrive in an office setting, and are dependent upon having the first two subcategories of foundational knowledge. Included here are communicating data, project management, and team performance.
- New economy skills — Strategic skills that make professionals more flexible and able to adapt in an ever-changing workplace. These equate to an ability to be on the “front line,” to drive organizations in a new direction and innovate. This is where creativity, cognitive flexibility, and emotional intelligence come into play.
- Digital Skills — These are the more advanced, career-specific technical skills. When students learn new software, they are learning to use the application as well as gaining the ability to adapt to new and changing technology in the workplace. General knowledge of computer and internet use, productivity software, and programming fall into this subcategory.
SuccessReady® Career Skills add career-relevant value to a General Education curriculum, which students often just view as a stepping stone to the career- or program-specific courses. In CSU Global’s General Education courses, students see which specific skills they will acquire within the text/modules, with visual cues to inform them of the abilities and understanding they’re acquiring during course assessments.
These skills are introduced and practiced in the courses and are further developed with real-world experience. SuccessReady® Career Skills stand out to employers as being just as valuable as technical and industry-specific skills.
When students have acquired these skill sets and abilities, they become well-prepared for tomorrow’s jobs by demonstrating the experiential knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace — not just in the day-to-day tasks, but in a way that impresses recruiters, leads to success within teams, and persuades supervisors to acknowledge accomplishments and give recommendations for well-earned raises and career advancement.
Ariana Jackson is the Content Marketing Specialist at CSU-Global. She has a background in magazines and creative writing, and has worked in the education and financial services industries since 2010. She enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and creating music playlists on Spotify.