5 Things Employers Want from Students

connectionsEmployers have been concerned that students aren’t prepared with the tools they need to succeed in business, and those concerns are global. LinkedIn, the largest online professional network for adults thinks it’s important, too. LinkedIn will launch student, high school, and university pages (September 12, 2013) dedicated to young people 14-years-of-age and older, as a way to “engage students in their future”.

Here are 5 things employers want from students:

1. STEM Skills:

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) coursework plays big in hiring, and it’s looked at by employers to fill positions that are not normally associated with those STEM skills. The STEM process is one that pays off in the overall real world of work.

2. Writing Skills:

Most employers complain about the lack of writing skills students have mastered upon entering the workforce. Many successful candidates have taken post secondary courses in writing to help bolster their chances of landing a job. Writing is important at every level of the corporate hierarchy.

3. Public Speaking Skills:

Someone once said that speaking in public, for most, is the closest thing to death, but students looking to get hired need to know that employers need workers with this skill. Many schools consider this important, as well, and make public speaking a part of all areas of the curriculum, and in every class. In most cases, this can be a higher education prerequisite, too, but getting students comfortable from the earliest grades is important. Too often, show and tell at primary levels is the last speaking stage for students.

4. Some Business Knowledge:

In most cases, students don’t get a true picture of the work environment during high school, and many don’t know more than what they’ve learned in basic economics courses. Employers are looking for more in candidates. While the lemonade stand atop the driveway may be a good start, courses that include business concepts and recent trends need to become more the norm. Knowing that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, while important to history, isn’t quite what employers are looking for today.

5. Internship:

Internships, and not just those in a student’s chosen field, show that a student has an interest in discovering what the world of work is really like. It begins to create a record of a student’s work value. Internships may be the only way a student can prove him or herself, and determine if the path he/she has chosen is realistically best. Internships are similar to an apprenticeship, where a student can be seen, and a trade can be learned. Some internships are unpaid, and some offer partial payment. Many students who take internships are offered positions—if one exists, and if they’ve proven themselves first.


Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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