Graduate Coach Blog

The 21st century skills checklist that will widen your graduate career options–Part 2

Posted: February 6, 2015 at 10:27 am | Author: Chris Davies

We have been looking at the skills you need to widen your graduate career options and this is Part 2. It lists the 21st century skills you need to learn in order to move forward whatever your graduate career choice is. As we said in Part 1, Dr Jackie Gerstein, upon whose work this list is based, says this is the set of skills all teachers should use to determine whether students are really learning the skills they need for today and tomorrow. At Graduate Coach, we see them as the skills that will make one graduate more employable than another so we’ve rewritten and added our own twist to the list to make them more relevant. If you haven’t read Part 1 on the skills needed to move you forward in your career choice then do so here.

If you have, well done, and here are the remaining six:

Resilience – this is where you learn to look at failures as opportunities to learn and to grow, rather than events that come to hold you back. Failure is failure only if you fail to learn anything from it. Instead ask, what can I learn from this? How can I use this to my advantage? Developing the habit of quickly getting back on track after a set back and hitting the reset button after an upset will reduce the amount of time you spend wallowing in what looks like a failure and is anything but.

Grit – we all need a good dose of grit for those long-term projects, and the more challenging, boring or complex they are the more grit we need to avoid abandoning them. So see perseverance as a skill in itself and reward yourself for persevering through any task where you have felt the temptation to give up. Endure, push and press past those obstacles and your career, and employer, will eventually reward you for it in the months and years to come.

Collaboration across networks – we live in a world rich in networks and when it comes to being competitive you can use these networks to gain some leverage in your level of employability. Whether these networks belong inside your university or on the other side of the world; whether they are virtual or face-to-face, go out of your way to discover where they are and use them to reach out to others who are learning or working in your field. You are a hundred per cent guaranteed to come away with new insights and new contacts that will differentiate you from others.

Empathy & global stewardship – the more awareness you can develop of other cultures and languages, and the more opportunities for social engagement you can embrace, the better equipped you will be with the global perspective necessary for a global workforce. The foundation to this approach is an understanding of the interconnections between all living systems, whether they are people, places, plants or animals! Employers simply want to know that you are respectful, understanding and can see the viewpoints of others.

Vision for the future – what’s your dream? Do you have a vision for where you want to go? And if so, what are you doing about it? If you don’t have a vision for the future, why not? Vision is like a sort of navigation device that directs your choices, interests and time and employers want to know that you have one, especially one that’s going to help the company you eventually work for to grow while you are on your way to fulfilling your vision. Set aside time to think about your vision and dream and the plans you need to have in place to fulfill them.

Learning the six skills listed here and the six in part 1 will help guarantee that you are successful in your career choice as every career needs these skills. It is the best way to increase your competitive edge and chances of landing a top graduate level job.

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