Nature of Work and Skills Sought by Employers

Teleworking: Approximately 16% of workers are in alternative employment arrangements today. Freelancing, “gig economy,” contract work, each of these terms describes a trend which will be more prevalent in the future. The internet, smart phones, online file sharing, and new technologies have all made it possible for us to work anywhere and everywhere.

What are additional changes that will impact the future workplace?

  • There are three forces that will influence the world of work in the future; demographic trends, ongoing technological progress and economic globalization of the U.S. economy.
  • The labor force has become smaller except for age 55-plus workers.
  • Employees will have the opportunity to shape their own career paths rather than climbing a “corporate ladder.”
  • The number of manufacturing jobs has dropped while the number of service-related jobs has grown significantly.
  • There’s no such thing as total job security so it’s important to have a backup plan and to continuously improve and broaden your skills.
  • Many jobs being filled now did not exist 20 years ago and it’s expected that in 10 years’ time, 60% of jobs will be entirely new.

Some of the new technologies which are anticipated to affect the workplace:

  • Light peak technology which enables data transfers at up to 100 GB per second
  • Mainstream Artificial Intelligence in average electronic devices that will enable multitasking to rise to new levels
  • Web 3.0 will offer new web-browsing capabilities and experiences

Skills Sough by Employers

These are qualities that employers will seek in the modern employee:

  • Basic soft skills: Advanced cognitive skills, socio-behavioral skills and the ability to adept to changes in communication and new technologies.
  • Self-directed: Now the employees have the ability to work from anywhere at any time, being self-directed is crucial. You must be able to execute on your deliverables whether you are in an office or at home.
  • Focus: In today’s  work environment information bombards employees from every direction which means employees need to become adept at filtering out and focusing on what’s crucial.

Source: Shirley Rowe, owner of Front Rowe Consulting.

Overcoming Generational Barriers in Workplace Communication

Having shared goals but different expectations about how to achieve them is a common theme of workplace disagreements. How does an employer bridge the gap and keep the focus on quality outcomes and high productivity while simultaneously ensuring all employees feel represented within the workplace? It is critical to identify differences between alternative perceptions.

It is important to keep these differences in mind, to promote peace and productivity. Employers should focus on commonalities with these cohorts. Although the order of priorities may change between the generations, most employees value work-life balance, want to be included in decisions and leadership, expect training and development opportunities, strive for work that is challenging and rewarding, are financially motivated.

Work Values

  • Boomer: Stick to the agenda, enjoy and value teamwork and individual accountability.
  • Generation X: Strive for balance, freedom, and flexibility and value process over product.
  • Millennial: Value continuing education, respond well to mentoring, and prefer flattened hierarchy and social opportunities.
  • Generation Z: Expect work to be a central part of their lives, value guidance and reassurance, income-driven, risk-adverse and emphasize safety.

Some effective strategies for managing diverse workplace populations include:

  • interdisciplinary teams that include cross-generational mentoring and allow for all to be represented in decision making
  • individual recognition and promotion based on performance rather than longevity and past experience with incentives that are meaningful to the employees current life stage
  • multi-level feedback and supervision
  • multimodal communication
  • avoid generational biases and ageism
  • present changes in a way that does not seem to favor one group or displace another

Consider the following workplace decision-making process, finalizing project:

  • Boomer: We need to finalize the details of the project. I will schedule a meeting in the conference room sometime this week. Please let me know open times on your schedule.
  • Generation X: What a waste of time! We are just wrapping up the details – can we have a quick conference call instead and can’t we use a Doodle Poll to figure out when we can all meet?
  • Millennial: Why don’t we use Zoom or FaceTime?
  • Generation Z: Can’t this be solved asynchronously, I have a family obligation today. Could we respond in the next 24 hours with a cloud-based survey??

In this conversation, the employees share the same goal. Their communication preferences and the way they manage their time varies. As the conversation evolves, each individual contributes a set of ideas unique to their cohort. Personality conflicts may arise; some may get frustrated, thinking their way is the better method and not understanding why the other do not agree and some way may feel they are not heard and valued when their preferences are unmet. Over time, these disagreements can overcome exaggerated and could be source of further disagreement, contributing to the mood of the overall work environment.

Source: Rebecca Merlenbach, graduate student at Lindenwood University and Dr. Sarah Patterson-Mills, LPC, Program Chair for School Counseling at Lindenwood University.

3 Ways to Connect the Generations in the Workplace

When developing intergenerational connectivity, it is essential to focus on the connecting points that unite generations, rather than dissimilarities.

  1. Mentoring: Mentoring is the collective “how” in work. Organizations strive for mutual support and tolerance with a strong commitment to inclusiveness. In order to accomplish this, companies must train leaders to be better equipped to communicate, mentor, inspire, and authentically care about their employees. Developing a mentoring structure that identifies employee goals, needs, and then setting up support models, such as one-on-one sessions, intergenerational group sessions, and even “speed mentoring” where employees ask questions of the organization’s leaders, will encourage knowledge-sharing relationships. Baby Boomers can pass on the institutional knowledge, Generation X can bring structure and focus, Generation Y provides unique connections and Generation Z support innovation. “Reverse mentoring” can also be very effective, using technology to give younger team members the opportunity to share their skills with more senior colleagues.
  2. Mastering: Mastering is a creative “why” in work. Open communication with customized messaging tailored to individual need provides Generation Y and Generation Z with continuous feedback loops, while annual performance reviews continue for Baby Boomers and Builders. Training managers to develop strong interpersonal and communication skills will ensure an open and inclusive workspace where employees can share. Bringing generations togethers together by conducting awareness sessions provides an opportunity to educate one another about each generation’s history, values, culture, and norms. Developing a sense of purpose beyond profit by putting more emphasis on opportunities for growth, promotions based on competence and honoring social responsibility, creates an environment of ambition, connection and loyalty. Embedding the mission/vision of the organization into each employee’s ambitions provides a connective purpose between generations.
  3. Motivating: Motivating is the connective “what” in work. Each generation has wants and needs based on different ways they value work. Baby Boomers and Builders have less family obligations and may wish to work part-time but still want to be involved in decisions. Individuals from Generation X are the “sandwich generation”, caring both elders and children while paying mortgages and saving for their children’s college and retirement. Generation Y look for the “work to live” balance in their lives. Professional development, however, is a constant request of each generation. The best solution in providing training to a multi-generational workforce isn’t prioritizing but by personalizing the learning. This requires customizing development for each employee to engage them in the material and their growth. Learning tools can be a platform that provides customized pathways to achieve individuals goals or provide necessary training. Technology, in-person training, and experiential opportunities that fit the learning styles of individual employees provide awareness-building a Millennials move into management.

Summary: Organizations thrive leaders focus custom approaches based on how each generation sees the world and how values are shaped by their experience. Those values, in turn, shape their place in the workplace. They key to respect between generations is the recognition of uniqueness in each generations’ talent, potential, expertise and motivation in the multi-generational workplace by creating customized opportunities to collaborate, connect and foster successful relationships.

Source: Linda Sollars, MA, GCDFi, CMCS, President of Creating Purpose, LLC.


Effective Resumes for Education Majors

Even in this era of online applications and LinkedIn, your resume is still pertinent. This one or two-page document captures your teaching skills and experiences. The goal of your resume, along with the other paperwork districts require, is to earn you an interview. When used during the course of a job fair or on-site interviews, the resume provides the interviewer with relevant information about your qualifications.

As you gather and organize information for your resume, critically examine your skills, experiences, accomplishments and relate them to teaching. Self-assessment and reflection are excellent preparation for the interview as well.

Before writing your resume, read a job description of a teacher in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, O*Net, or another career reference resource. Talk to teachers about  what they do. Pay attention to the words of describing the profession and use these same words in your resume. Think about the skills teachers employ. Educators plan, organize, prepare, research, instruct, lead, listen, demonstrate, write, supervise, evaluate, motivate, implement, integrate, encourage, facilitate, enforce, advocate, collaborate, communicate, and assess.

While there is not simply one correct way to write a resume, effective resumes adhere to basic guidelines:

  • Beginning with most important material;
  • Starting sentences with vivid verbs describing your skills;
  • Using bullet statements or short paragraphs;
  • Being consistent in formatting;
  • Supplying specific, quantifiable information outlining responsibilities and accomplishments;
  • Eliminating all spelling and grammatical mistakes.

A reader spends only 20 to 30 seconds screening your resume; significant information must stand out communicating your competencies to be an outstanding teacher.

Resume Categories

  1. Contact Information. Your name, phone number, and e-mail belong at the top of the resume. Due to privacy concerns, an address on your resume has become optional. If you are submitting your resume to an online database which will be accessible to multiple users of that service, you may want to omit the address. Most educational employers will ask your address on an application, so providing your address on your resume is your decision. Include your cell phone number. Most of time, employers will call you to set up an interview. Therefore, make sure your voicemail greeting is one you want a potential employer to hear. At the same time, make sure your e-mail address is one that won’t embarrass you. Create an email account just for employers.
  2. Education. Most first year teacher candidates should list “Education” after the objective because the degree is the basic qualification for teaching. Include all college experience with the most advanced degree first. List your degree, major, and minor, the name and location of the institution, and your graduation date. Include GPA only if it is 3.0 or above. Be sure to include your certification or licensure area(s). If you have unique educational experiences, such as study overseas, include this information here. You may chose to include academic honors, activities, conferences, educational clubs/associations, and scholarships here, or you may do so in a separate sections.
  3. Student Teaching and Field of Experience. If you are earning your first teaching certificate, you do not have professional teaching experience yet. This section is the most important one and must be the salient part of your resume. You can use the heading “Student Teaching and Field Experience” or “Teaching Experience,” but make sure readers know these are pre-service teaching experiences and not professional teaching experiences. State the school, location, and dates. Include the facts of your teaching assignment such as the number of students you worked with each day (or week), the number or percentage of students with IEP’s you accommodated, and the classes, grade levels, and subjects you were responsible for. Then describe your instructional experience in specific terms. All student teachers write lesson plans – what specifically did you prepare and present? Leave off routine activities such as grading papers or creating seating charts. Consider addressing these issues as you describe your instructional experiences as a student teacher:
    • A unit plan you created that encompassed a variety of subject areas;
    • Lessons you designed to meet state standards;
    • Techniques that you employed to differentiate your instruction and the accommodations you provided to meet the needs of diverse learners;
    • Specific technology you incorporated into your teaching;
    • Creative ways that you connected the subject material with the students;
    • Collaborative activities, including co-teaching, with other teachers, school counselors, and administrators that you participated in;
    • Paraprofessionals an parent volunteers you supervised;
    • The classroom management system you used.
  4. Experience.  For your next section, you may want to create a section titled “Teaching-Related Experience” which includes paid and volunteer experiences such as summer camp counselor, Special Olympics volunteer, youth coach, or academic tutor. Describe these related experiences in a manner consistent with your student teaching descriptions. It should be written in similar format with “Teaching Experience.”
  5. Additional Categories. This section may include “Activities,” “Honors and Awards,” and “Professional Affiliations.” Administrators look to hire teachers who will be competent and active in a variety of school responsibilities. Include college or community activities (if you haven’t done so in a previous section) showing that you will participate in school and community activities as a teacher too. An activity may deserve a description because you developed professional skills or accomplished a significant objective.
  6. Format and Printing. The most common format is chronological where each section lists the most recent material first. Occasionally a functional resume may be appropriate, but if not done well, a functional resume can be confusing to the reader. Career Services professionals can review which format will work best for you. Technology provides you with the resources to create and print professional resume. Use an easy-to-read 11 or 12 point font, one-inch margins (although you could decrease them to three-quarters of an inch if needed), and plenty of white space between sections. Avoid using a resume template since your resume will look exactly like the resume of everyone else who uses this template. Print your resume on good bond paper using black ink. Do not include a picture. Use the same paper for your career letters. When you attach your resume to online application or an email, send it as a PDF to preserve your formatting.

Source: John F. Snyder, Associate Director, Career Education and Development, Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania




3 Tips To Help You Find Your Dream Job

  1. Use a Professional Resume Writing Service

A professionally written resume makes you 38% more likely to be contacted, 31% more likely to get an interview, and 40% more likely to land the job. You can also earn up to $5,000 more per year. The main advantage is getting around the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that most employers use to scan resumes. The ATS scans your resume and searches for specific keywords and phrases as they relate to the job qualifications. If the ATS doesn’t see the right ones on your resume, it might not even be seen by an actual person. TopResume has professional resume writers that know exactly how ATS works and how to craft a top quality resume.

2. Tell a Story in Your Cover Letter When Applying

Too often, people use their cover letters to just explain their resume in greater detail, but that’s not what a cover letter is about. It’s a way for you to tell a story about your career and specify why you would be a great match for the particular position you’re applying for. If you don’t research the company thoroughly and specify why you would be a good fit for the company, it may seem like you don’t understand the culture. I personally was never the strongest writer, so I struggled a bit with this. Luckily TopResume also offers a service that will write your cover letter for you. I reached out and told them about my career journey and they helped me turn it into an intriguing cover letter story. I never would have been able to come up with that on my own.

3. Take Advantage of LinkedIn During Your Job Search

These days, your LinkedIn profile is almost as important as your resume, if not more. Not only do most employers check your LinkedIn page after you apply for the job, LinkedIn itself is a great way to find a job. I tried to keep my LinkedIn profile as up to date as possible while working at my last job, but like my resume, I just never found the time to do it properly. Once again though, TopResume hooked me up, by rewriting my entire LinkedIn profile to make sure it was different than my resume. After that, I was having way more success getting responses from places I applied to, and I even started to see more recruiters reach out to me about jobs.

No one likes writing their resumes, and figuring out how to sell themselves to potential employers. Some people are naturally good at it. For those of us that aren’t, these tips and TopResume can make a huge difference. They certainly did for me.