Recently I was working on a project relating to primary school educators. While doing some research I came across information time and time again that indicated that training and development pre-hire and post-hire for educators was lacking. It didn’t surprise me. What it did was get me thinking about how a college graduate might be better prepared, regardless of their field of study, for work after graduation.
Employers are polled annually by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) to determine the top ten personal qualities and skills employers seek. While there are some obvious ones like leadership, writing and presentation skills, and ability to be a member of a diverse team, one that we don’t often think about is being ‘global.’
Employers need it, but just how does one acquire the skill of being global?
Well, some campuses now require incoming students to apply for a passport with the expectation that they will use it to become more aware of the world as a part of their education. Making time to study abroad, learn a foreign language, or take classes in cultural studies are all great options. So are joining a cultural club or volunteering to teach English to foreign students.
Knowing a second language can pay off more than you think. In a tough economic climate, knowing another language is especially important. It will set you apart from other job candidates. Take note, the need for bilingual executives will be even greater in 10 years than it is today. Don’t think that the field you’ve chosen to work in won’t require you to be bi-lingual.
Beyond areas such as education where it’s an obvious plus, there are plenty of other fields where being bilingual can have a real impact on the likelihood of your being hired. Anyone from banking and finance executives to marketers to software developers can find it beneficial to have another language on their résumé.
For the last two decades the business community has criticized higher education for producing graduates with degrees but inadequate professional skills. Employers complained that degree-holders were unable to analyze problems, write, or work in diverse settings. Use the years during college to develop personal learning goals, critical thinking, writing and presentation skills and most of all your ‘global’ skills. It will help you be more successful post degree.
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