As an international careers adviser, I receive questions daily from people of varied backgrounds who hope to try their luck in the global marketplace. Many job seekers mistakenly believe that they can’t begin an international career until their feet are on foreign soil. They overlook their own backyard for resources and training opportunities.
The Most Sought-After Skills
What do international employers really look for in employees and what skills will be needed by professionals to perform successfully in the global marketplace?
A study commissioned by the College Placement Council Foundation surveyed 32 international employers and colleges to determine what international employers seek in prospective employees. They identified the following areas of required knowledge and skills:
Colleges in the U.S. are presently preparing their graduates well in domain knowledge, or knowledge in one’s academic discipline, although employers expressed concern that increasingly greater demands and higher standards may soon result in inadequately prepared graduates.
The three most important skills were cognitive skills, social skills, and “personal traits.” Problem-solving ability, decision making, and knowing how to learn are highly prized generic skills. Social skills were described as the ability to work effectively in group settings, particularly with diverse populations. Personal traits mentioned frequently included flexibility, adaptability, and the capacity to be innovative. Employers often mentioned that colleges do not adequately address this type of skill development.
Students must make a concerted effort to acquire the knowledge, skills, and traits gained through cross-cultural interaction because we are more geographically and linguistically insulated than most other countries. Cross cultural competence training is an essential consideration.
On-the-job training and prior work experience. Employers seek applicants who have been successful in applying their domain knowledge or academic studies and generic skills in the workplace. They say that colleges do not place sufficient emphasis on work experience.
Read more >> By Debra Peters-Behrens