Stephanie recently wrote an article for students based on content from our newly published book Backpack to Briefcase, A Student’s Guide to a Meaningful Career Journey. The article first appeared on Great advice for students and great conversation starters for parents and loved ones to ask their students about. Read on!

No matter your field, all employers are looking for employees with strong, practical skills, like problem solving and communication.

Going back to school this fall will be different. Commend yourself for getting to this point. You have shown resilience and commitment.

How can you make the best of this school year? Whether you’re in high school or post-secondary this year, you’ll be focussed on your studies. And that’s key! However, employers are looking for grads who have learned the theory and have some experience in the practical skills they require.

Therefore, I suggest that you keep an eye out for opportunities where you can build your real-world skills while you’re studying.

In my recently published book, “Backpack to Briefcase, A Student’s Guide to a Meaningful Career Journey,” I provide readers with research on the practical skills that employers are looking for and how students can gain those skills.

What are employers looking for?

The practical skills employers are looking for include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Works well on a team
  • Strong collaboration abilities
  • Ability to solve complex problem
  • Digital fluency
  • Intercultural competencies

Look out for opportunities that will allow you to “apply” the theory you are learning. Seek out experiences that encourage you to build your leadership skills and develop your ability to work effectively with culturally-diverse teams. What do those opportunities look like?

12 ways to build your practical skills

You can build these practical skills by participating in opportunities such as:

  • Co-op work terms
  • Internships
  • Practicums
  • Apprenticeships
  • Applied projects
  • Starting your own business
  • Participating in case competitions and debates
  • Volunteering
  • Taking on a side hustle
  • Joining a student club
  • Studying abroad
  • Attending an international field school

Students who don’t allocate time to building their experience while studying will be at a disadvantage once they graduate.

The most successful students focus on their studies AND dedicate time to building and developing their practical skills. Wishing you a successful year ahead!

More great tips and activities in the book!

Purchase yours here or as a gift for the holidays for someone you love.

Louann and Stephanie

All PeerSpectives Matter 

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