Career readiness is essential for anyone who wants to advance in their professional life. Whether you’re just starting out, looking to advance in your field or hoping to shift careers, there are certain job-ready career skills and strategies that can help you stand out from the competition and land your dream job. We spoke with Jessica S., one of our Talent Acquisition Partners, to get her thoughts on top employability skills and how career development courses can help improve your career readiness skills.
Job-Ready Career Skills
In today's job market, having a set of core skills is essential to being career ready. From developing a strong resume, to networking and gaining practical experience, the tips and techniques for building employability skills that Jessica provides will put you on the path to a successful career. Here are the top seven job ready career skills that will help you stand out from the competition, increase your chances of getting hired and advance your career development.
1. Develop a Strong Resume and Cover Letter
Your resume is often the first way a potential new employer learns about you. Make sure you’re not only listing your experience, but also your skills and knowledge. Jessica says, “The key is to make yourself stand out among the crowd. It’s imperative that you tailor your resume to the specific role you’re applying for. This includes ensuring that the employability skills, courses and awards you list are relevant to the role and its responsibilities. And don’t forget to include your technical skills. Certain hiring managers, especially for technology jobs, want to see what technical experience you have.”
Jessica adds, “It’s also important to customize an objective at the top of your resume. Tell your future employer who you are and what you can do right up front. Think of this as your elevator pitch.”
While many potential employers, including Cengage group, no longer require a cover letter, Jessica says you might consider submitting one. “Writing a cover letter that that is created specifically for the position you’re applying for can make a nice first impression. Cover letters don’t need to be overly long. Use this space to introduce who you are, your motivation in applying to the role and a quick summary of your background.”
For more guidance on resume writing, check out this resume writing workshop.
2. Network, Network, Network!
Building relationships with people in your field is a great way to learn about job opportunities, get your foot in the door and gain career skills. Attending industry events, joining professional organizations and connecting with people on LinkedIn can all be beneficial.
Jessica says, “Networking, both virtually and in-person, is hugely beneficial in career mobility. When looking for career advancement, new opportunities or simply growing contacts, networking with others that are in your current or desired industry is important. To build your network, I always recommend starting with LinkedIn Groups. They’re an amazing resource to get to know people in your industry on a larger scale.”
If you’d like to build your network within your current organization, consider joining an employee resource group (ERG). ERGs, like Cengage Group’s Women in Tech (WiT) and Mosaic, often have programs set up that connect members with others interested in networking or mentoring.
3. Brush up on Your Interviewing Skills
If you’ve been in the same role for several years or if you’re looking for your first job, interviewing could seem daunting.
Jessica says, “The biggest tip I can give for interviewing is to remember that it’s just a conversation. Take a deep breath before you begin. Use active listening and adaptability to let the conversation flow naturally. While your resume is important, these and other soft skills are key employability skills, too.”
“Come to the interview prepared. Research the company and role ahead of time. Have your questions ready and don’t be afraid to ask them,” adds Jessica.
4. Gain Practical Experience
Whether you’re looking for your first job or to make a career pivot, you may be looking for creative ways to gain practical work experience and career growth. Internships, volunteer work and stretch assignments can all help you gain valuable skills and experience.
5. Be Proactive About Your Career Development
Set goals for yourself and take steps to achieve them. Look for opportunities to learn new skills and take on additional responsibilities to advance on your current career path. Even look at incorporating college and career readiness training as part of your professional development opportunities.
“Whether you’re looking for a new job, to advance in your current position or to take the next step on your career path, investing time in your learning and development is imperative,” says Lauren G., Senior Director, Talent Development
6. Be Open to Different Career Paths
The job market is constantly changing, so be open to exploring new industries and roles. For example, healthcare jobs are expected to grow by 13% over the next decade and the cybersecurity industry has more than 700,000 open positions. There are many jobs that don’t require a two- or four-year degree and could be attainable through reskilling and certification.
To get help identifying the job that is best for your needs and tips on how to land it, consider this course: 12 Steps to a Successful Job Search
7. Keep Your Skills Up to Date
Continuous learning through classes and courses is essential to staying competitive in today's job market. To keep your skills current or learn additional skills, consider taking online classes, attending workshops or pursuing additional certifications. Online courses provide flexibility and affordability for learners of all ages and stages of their careers.
How Cengage Group Can Help with Career Readiness
We are a leading educational technology company offering a variety of online courses for adult learners through Cengage Work. These courses are designed to provide knowledge needed for skilling and upskilling to learners advance in the job they have or get a new job. They cover a wide range of subjects, including business, technology, healthcare and personal development opportunities.
Whether your career goals are short- or long-term, we have courses to help you advance on your current career path or get ready for future opportunities. Additionally, many of the courses offered through ed2go focus on developing career readiness skills, such as effective communication, problem-solving, time management and other employability skills, which are helping individuals stand out in the job market and preparing students to enter new industries.
Learn more about what we do.