September 3, 2021

Defeating Competitiveness with Career Readiness

These days there’s a larger percentage of companies searching for a candidate who can balance a myriad of responsibilities or the flexibility to take on a hybrid role.


According to Fast Company, with baby boomers heading into retirement and taking their years of institutional knowledge with them, companies are looking to millennials and Generation Z to fill the gap.

This knowledge transfer for newer employees creates a more selective search and onboarding process for versatile, multifaceted employees who also hold a “learnability” factor and lifetime value for the company. In many ways, the competition among prospective candidates is split between how many skills you hold and how much industry experience you have. But according to hiring agencies like Barfield, “even in our candidate-driven, super-tight current job market, hiring managers are getting more selective and siloed in their processes. The majority of the time, they don’t want the generalist with multiple, usable skill sets. They want subject-matter experts, folks with deep, focused, and specific expertise in a desirable area of focus. Depth of specificity is far more desirable than a breadth of experience.”

This doesn’t leave too much freedom for endless exploration when entering the job market — causing stress about the uncertainty about life after education, discouraging the pursuit of passion to settle with “practical” careers or learning from mistakes. Starting early in discovering what your passions and strengths are can increase your college or career readiness. 

“I insist you do not need a college degree to start! Explore your opportunities and don’t be afraid of failure.” — Facundo Diaz

While schools teach and concentrate on academic skills, standardized testing, and academic performance, college and career readiness aren’t based on academic skills solely but also technical and employability skills. Some of these “soft skills” are becoming only more important as technology and automation transform the way we work as well. Post-secondary education that leads to high-range, high-growth, and high-demand careers is no longer synonymous with a four-year Bachelor’s degree. And it doesn’t necessarily promise the immediate and affluent salary one expects when entering the job market. Students also face increased competition for jobs that require less education and further compete with others on their availability while enrolled in school. Companies, especially with the growth in start-ups in the last 10 years, are looking for greater experience and availability versus the completion of a post-secondary degree. LinkedIn reported that with how work is changing, “more than 75% of startups on the list say that a college degree isn’t required for job applicants.”

“It’s beyond the career. You are actually designing the life you want and that, I think, not enough people are encouraged to think about early on.” — Billie Whitehouse

It’s more important now than ever to incorporate career exploration within traditional education. Students today are applying and gaining those experiences through exploring their passions, extracurricular activities, after school clubs, etc. This type of genuine self-discovery and workforce training is personal, enabling one student at a time to find their way. Through volunteering, joining after school clubs, holding down part-time jobs and starting side hustles, students are effectively defining and preparing themselves for what they want to do, discovering what they are good at, and what conditions and industries may be the best fit for them. From gaining relevant skills, students apply this as an educational experience — reinforcing or learning real-world problem-solving and building expertise that academic performance isn’t transferring over to students. 

Find Your Grind is developing multiple pathways to employment by encouraging customizable options to fit individual situations. Through self-discovery, we concentrate on exploring the lifestyle you want and examining your strengths to help evaluate what jobs and industries may be right for you.

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