The bust era, 2008-to-current has been perhaps a worst time in U.S. employment for new college graduates. The Wakefield Research from a survey among U.S. adults age 18 to 34 found that 80% of workers believe they are “job ready and possess all the skills, experience and education needed to advance in their career path or obtain their next job.”
However, 40% of U.S. employers say most entry-level candidates lack even the basic skills needed to fill job openings. Then there’s the issue of so-called “soft” job skills such as critical thinking and sophisticated problem-solving. Only 16% of the 18-to 34-year-olds surveyed sees such skills as necessary for career advancement.
The fact is, 93% of U.S. employers say soft skills are “weighed more heavily” when vetting job candidates – much more so than a candidate’s college academic credentials.
Employers’ statements below:
“I’ve found the majority often lack strong presentation skills. Although most have accomplished applicable research projects proving their analytical skills etc. – most haven’t successfully matched that with the ability to present those outcomes and ideas. Most colleges offer a variety of presentation courses. If these aren’t part of your required course work, I encourage you to take a few as an elective.”
“It sounds simple, but sometimes new hires lack basic communication skills. That’s because as students you are exposed to people who are at a similar age and experience level. In a work environment, new hires may not be used to talking to senior leaders or in front of diverse groups. New hires can quickly learn how to fit in and “show well” by observing the language and style of communication used on everything from email, team meetings, to even virtual meeting platforms. Speaking, writing, and communicating in a corporate environment are quite different from talking with peers. So understanding this and treating this as a skill to work on is key.”
“There are many different ways to address this question. Here are a few thoughts:
– Lack of strong communication skills (verbal and written) can hurt prospective interviewees. In many cases these are small things like dress professionally in the interview, make eye contact, ask follow up questions, and be engaged.
– It’s advisable to spend time conducting mock interviews with friends and family, preparation is key.
– Know your resume inside and out and be able to draw on accomplishments/projects in complete end to end detail.
– Prepare to answer behavioral based and situational based interview questions. There are heaps of self-help guides available on the subject. Also check with your student careers service center, they may have more information and even workshops you can attend.”
Does online social networking possibly present a danger of people losing their social skills during face-to-face or phone interaction?
“Absolutely, it already has,” says communication expert Leslie Ungar, president of Akron, OH-based Electric Impulse Communications, Inc. (www.electricimpulse.com).
“Yes, online social networking does present a danger,” she asserts. “People have already lost the ability to read people. With email you can’t read each other’s reactions, and you lose the idea that there is an ability to communicate otherwise,” she says. “The chances of getting a promotion coming through email are slight, yet people will resign or quit via email.”
On the other hand, do people who already have trouble with social skills feel more comfortable with online networking? “It does allow people to think that they have a higher degree of social skills or a social life,” Ungar says. “For many people three hours on Facebook is a social life, but their social skills already have gone downhill, and will continue to go downhill.”
Email will not establish a relationship, just maintain it,” Ungar explains. “You have to use the correct technology for the goal that you are trying to achieve. With the wrong technology, you will not accomplish your goal, but the problem is, is that you think you are achieving it.”
Ungar says social networking is like any other new forms of technology that people had to learn to use properly. “Like any new advancement, you have to learn how to use it, like cars, or new fast machines, you have to learn appropriate uses,” she notes.
If you know how to use social media to your advantage, you will be a master or your own domain. If you develop the attribute of social skills along with proper usage of social media such as Facebook, you will have a life full of opportunities. Employers are now solely looking for an employees with social skills first.
How do we develop our social skills then?
- You must able to interact with anyone without feeling of awkwardness
- You must get rid of self-consciousness and focus on other person
- Start talking in real-life rather than behind the keyboard or your smartphone
- Instead of text, talk on the phone. If you can meet and talk, lose your phone
- Start interacting with REAL people instead of texting or being a keyboard jockey NOW
Stay tuned for step-by-step methods for improving your social skills. I will provide very useful exercises to handle lack of social skills. – SjC