Prepare Your Student or Child for a Changing Job Market

How do you as a parent or educator prepare your children and students for the 21st-century workforce? While the professional outlook is complex, it is also promising.

Job markets are experiencing dramatic changes due to various megatrends and technological advancements. How do you as a parent or educator prepare your children and students for the 21st-century workforce? While the professional outlook is complex, it is also promising.

Here’s how to prepare your student for a job despite an uncertain market.


Help them keep a master resume

Finding the right job in this highly competitive job market can be tough – especially for a young person just entering the process. Creating a master resume is the first step to take. You can assist your child to create a professional resume or seek assistance from professional resume writers.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Focus on their education

If it’s their first resume, writing a convincing resume without any work experience can be tough. Emphasize your child’s education on the resume to make a lasting impression. Include major coursework, projects, and any academic achievements, scholarships, awards, and honors. While your student has freedom on how they list their education, it should be relevant and to the point.

2. Add certifications and skills

Listing professional certifications demonstrates passion and competence. Certifications include special documents that your student has received from accredited institutions or certifying boards. One of the best ways to showcase your child’s skills on a resume is to create a separate “skills” section that includes the abilities related to the job they are applying for.

3. Replace professional experience with volunteer work or internships

If this is the first time your child is applying for a job, they will not have years of experience on their resume. But, that doesn’t mean they do not have anything a hiring manager will find valuable.

There are dozens of creative ways to showcase experience to future employers, including through volunteering work, academic contests, and extracurricular activities.

4. Proofread the resume

A resume is the first impression a potential employer has of an individual, so it’s important to get it right. While proofreading a resume, you might want to print it out and read it aloud. Go slowly and read each word – no skimming.

You can also use online tools to catch errors you might have missed. But remember, these automated tools are not 100% reliable.


Help them create a professional LinkedIn profile

Getting a first job is an exciting milestone, but getting the right one can feel like an impossible challenge. LinkedIn is the most important social network for motivated candidates. In fact, more than 80 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find or vet job candidates.

LinkedIn is the ultimate way to help your student stand out. Here’s what you need to tell your child in order to get this part right:

1. Pick the right profile picture

A profile picture is an integral part of personal branding. Make sure your young person has a professional picture that is up to date. Have them choose a well-groomed headshot with an appropriate background.

A picture that they put on their other social media profiles like Facebook or Instagram might not be right for LinkedIn. (Selfies will not cut it in the professional world.)

2. Write a professional headline and summary

The LinkedIn headline is the first thing recruiters see. The right headline will accurately convey what a person does. Your student should include profession-specific skills and strengths in the headline, as long as they are relevant and concise.

Recruiters don’t have the time to go through the entire LinkedIn profile; they read a headline and summary, and then decide whether the candidate is the right fit. A good professional summary should include experience, skills, motivations, and passions.

3. Go wild with the skills section

It is equally important to list key skills on one’s LinkedIn profile. And LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills to your profile!

Help your student identify their key soft and hard skills and highlight these in the summary section. They should stick to the skills that are most relevant to the position they are applying for.


Prepare them for networking

One of the most effective ways to find the right job is by building relationships with a network of people. Networking is critical in a job search, and you can help your child prepare for this powerful career-building tool:

1. Help them understand the purpose of networking

Networking is more than just knowing people; it’s about building mutually beneficial professional relationships. The idea is to connect with people, as everyone you meet can potentially help with a job search.

2. Tell them who to network with

Only a small percent of job postings ever make it to job boards. Many jobs are a direct result of networking, so your young person will need to learn who to network with.

Tell your student to list all of the people they know from social media, church, college, or the gym. Then it’s time for them to rekindle dormant connections. Professors, classmates, family members, friends, and even casual acquaintances can be valuable assets in networking.

3. Teach them how to network

Online networking is the way to go these days. You can connect with people much faster online than in person. Your young person surely knows that, having grown up in this digital age.

Social networks – particularly LinkedIn – work in connecting with people and asking for referrals. Show your student how to connect and professionally message recruiters. Email is a great way to network as well; advise them to keep messages brief and to the point. They should keep track of who they’ve emailed or connected with.


Encourage the development of transferable skills

Transferable skills are universally essential whether you are changing careers, have recently graduated, or are looking for a new job. These skills can even be gained from small experiences, including volunteering, internships, freelance jobs, and more.

Here are a few common transferable skills that can help your young person land a job:

1. Communication skills

Communication is one of the building blocks of our society and it’s a transferable skill in any setting. It helps facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information and the development of relationships. To gain communication skills, your child needs to have good listening skills, non-verbal communication skills, and a positive attitude.

2. Leadership qualities

Leadership skills are essential in today’s workforce. Cultivating leadership skills early paves the way for success in this competitive job market. Encourage your young person to develop self-discipline, problem-solving, and decision-making to aid them throughout their professional life.

3. Management skills

Management is the ability to effectively handle people and processes, making sure a task or project is going as planned and on time, from start to finish. Management skills include planning, communication, and analytical skills, as well as strong interpersonal, conceptual, and technical skills.


Final thoughts

While knowledge-based learning in the classroom is important, career-related learning is equally critical to your young person’s professional success.

The impact of the pandemic on recent and upcoming employability has been felt globally, but your child’s future can be as bright as ever if you put in a little bit of work. As a parent or educator, you can prepare your student and help lay a solid foundation for your child’s career journey.


Liz Hogan


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22 JUN 2022
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