How remote learning provided graduates with skills for future careers

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
We asked Orla Bannon, director of careers at Trinity College Dublin, about how the pandemic may have equipped students with new skills and how they might make themselves more employable

Did attending college during a pandemic equip students with new skills?

There are many skills which graduates acquired or further developed during the pandemic that are invaluable in the current jobs market and will transfer directly to the workplace. Students and graduates should not only be able to articulate these but should also be able to apply them in new and different scenarios.

First and foremost, an ability to cope with uncertainty, stress and setbacks is useful when dealing with potential rejection when applying for jobs and during times of organisational change.

As students switched to online learning during the pandemic, this challenged their capacity to keep focused and motivated, so this ability to self-motivate and adapt to change will stand to them in their job search and in future roles.

Digital agility is now also a key feature of the workplace. Many students had to develop new skills in digital learning and communication and collaboration using platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom. This shows how they adapted quickly to new technologies and new ways of working and learning, so employers will value this flexibility and willingness to learn.

How important are soft skills?

It is critical for graduates to be able to articulate and evidence their development of soft skills, which are essentially linked to how they interact with other people. Soft skills — such as empathy, emotional intelligence, kindness, mindfulness, adaptability, integrity, optimism and resilience — have become crucial success factors in the workplace.

The Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum identified the top skills which employers see as rising in importance. [These include] critical thinking and analysis, problem-solving and self-management (active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility).

It is important for students and graduates to spend time reflecting on soft skills acquired through their degree programme and other activities (part-time work, involvement with sports/societies or volunteering, for example), and to be able to articulate these at the job application and interview stage.

How can graduates make themselves more employable?

Make sure your CV is up to date and tailor it to each job application that you make. Be able to clearly articulate how...

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