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Career-Ready Students: What Employers Really Want

Written by Bill Laurienti

Most educators are committed to preparing students for career success. Schools devote considerable effort to ensure that academic standards meet this need.

But what do employers really look for when hiring?

A new Wall Street Journal study analyzed 2.3 million LinkedIn profiles in search of an answer. The results may offer a new perspective into how we define “career ready.”

These findings provide important considerations for developing programs to address this important mission.

According the Wall Street Journal, employers are increasingly looking for workers with strong soft skills. Communication skills topped the list, followed by organization, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, interpersonal communication, adaptability and having a friendly personality.

While we sometimes refer to these competencies as “soft skills,” employers consider them to be absolutely critical for hiring and career success.

Schools that recognize career-readiness as an important element of its educational mission may want to  commit to developing these skills in addition to necessary foundations in academic content.

Our SmartLab HQs provide project-based STEM programs that develop critical workplace skills like those highlighted in the Wall Street Journal article.

Bill Laurienti

Bill Laurienti is a Content Marketing Specialist at Creative Learning Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education (English) from Colorado Mesa University and a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching from the University of California's Rossier School of Education. Bill came to CLS after 10 years in the secondary classroom. He believes SmartLabs are important tools for engaging unengaged students and helping them access careers they might not otherwise have imagined.

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When the team at Jewell Houston Academy, a magnet school in Texas, looked for a STEM program, they wanted one that would not only engage students in STEM careers but could also teach conflict-resolution, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills.

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