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Becoming More Job-Ready with Digital Learning Solutions

Category: Achievement and Outcomes

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Becoming More Job-Ready with Digital Learning Solutions

Posted on: 05/06/19 | Edited by: Jason Bennett 

From Guest writer and Student Ambassador : Annie Dollard, student at University of Liverpool

For many students, applying for graduate jobs is like entering a snake pit of highly-capable and fiercely-competitive individuals. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel like you tick all the right boxes for an employer. The other candidate knows the campus recruitment team? Sorry, then, but you don’t stand a chance. Haven’t done maths since high-school? Well, you may not want to read that feedback report from those online recruitment tests.

There is certainly no denying that there are many challenges to applying for graduate jobs and in showing employers that you have the skills that are imperative to succeed in the role.

Entering the workplace requires jumping a marathon of hurdles – online application forms, CVs, psychometric tests, video interviews, telephone interviews, assessment centres, and, the ultimate test, the final interview. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought, how many more different forms of interview can an employer come up with?

And at the crux of this is the multitude of skills that students need to be equipped with to succeed in the workplace. The ability to think critically, analyse complex data, and write professionally are all highly-desired skills that employers believe are essential for many types of roles and that they search for in candidates.

The pressure to fit this ‘skills-mould’ that employers look for is felt by many students. In Cengage’s recent Student Voices survey, over 50% of students across the UK, Europe and South Africa said that they have chosen to study for an undergraduate degree to improve their graduate prospects. Furthermore, the course elements they struggle with most are those very same skills that employers demand, and which few students realise can be developed by using digital learning resources.

So, how can digital solutions give students the employability skills that they need?

Critical Thinking

Case study exercises found in digital learning platforms can help students develop the ability to analyse and evaluate arguments objectively, as well as questioning ideas through identifying gaps in arguments. When reading case studies in MindTap as part of my studies, I developed my critical thinking skills by learning to consider the bigger picture of any given scenario. As a student, this has enabled me to learn with an open mind and reason my arguments, a skill that any person needs in the workplace.

Analytical Skills

Dealing with large volumes of complex data and information can be daunting. Most students will face these situations when sitting online recruitment tests. The comprehensive practice question banks and solution guides that are available in many digital learning solutions have helped me to break down problems and interpret information step-by step. Video solutions are also helpful in identifying recurring mistakes and how you can overcome these from a different perspective. All of these new-found skills are also important in the workplace and are definitely worth mentioning when having job interviews.

Professional Writing

From my experience of using digital learning resources, there are often report extracts and articles presented within e-textbooks which reflect professional insights into a topic that are well-articulated and structured and written with a professional audience in mind. Reading and analysing these pieces can help students understand how they, too, can construct a coherent argument or a piece of persuasive writing that uses the same professional language that would be used within the workplace. Some digital solutions also provide writing guidance and support.

Knowledge Application

Having the ability to apply knowledge to real-life situations is an invaluable skill that demonstrates not only a strong understanding of a subject, but also of having an astute mindset by which connections and fresh ideas can be easily identified. Using case study examples in MindTap has made me more commercially aware, allowing me to apply theory to many different scenarios and to adapt my thinking when required.

Digital Know-How

Many say that we are now living in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era of radical digitalisation. Future workforces need to be able to spot and react to opportunities that new technologies bring. Using digital resources to learn allows students to become even more familiar with technology so they are less fazed when faced with new software applications within a job. This familiarity with technology, also means that university graduates are also more likely to instinctively and laterally think about solutions to problems within the workplace using technology over other methods.

Planning and Time-Management

Prioritising and balancing different responsibilities can be tough within any job. I’ve found from personal experience that digital learning resources highlight the importance of progress monitoring, something that traditional learning methods can’t provide. This can help students keep on top of work and identify what areas they need to cover and work on, allowing them to organise their workload more effectively but also increasing awareness of the value of good time management. These are all skills that employers value in their staff and they may well ask you about this in a job interview.

Measuring yourself against other students and focusing on the employability skills you don’t have, rather than those that you do have, can leave students feeling anxious and stressed when applying for graduate opportunities. But, as students about to enter the workforce, we should not overlook the variety of skills we have developed through learning with digital resources, as these skills could be the deciding factor in securing the graduate role that we want.

 

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