By: Kerri Latham and Jeffrey Low
“What are you going to do with your degree?” Chances are, you’ve been asked this question many times by your family members, friends and fellow students. It’s okay if you don’t have an easy or simple answer.
Many people share the misconception that your degree or educational experience will guide or necessitate your career choices. This isn’t always true. In fact, career paths are seldom linear. Often, these paths are messy, meandering routes that don’t have a clear “point-A-to-point-B” trajectory. But this doesn’t mean that your career path needs to lack structure or a sense of guidance. You can work on getting career ready by developing your skills.
Enter the workplace with confidence in your skills
Career-ready skills are transferrable competencies you can apply in a wide variety of career areas. Basically, developing your career-ready skills is a great way to set yourself up for success — even if you aren’t sure what path your career might take.
Through extensive research with employers, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) developed a list of career-ready skills to help students and graduates prepare for their careers. The list includes:
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Digital technology
- Professionalism and work ethic
- Career management
- Global and intercultural fluency
Good news — you’re already developing these skills
- Your academic work helps you develop your critical thinking and communication skills. And, whether you like them or not, group projects can help you develop your teamwork skills.
- Through figuring out how to apply for summer jobs, clubs or other opportunities, you’re building your career management skills.
- You may be developing your cultural awareness through exploring exchanges or taking courses in Humanities or Social Sciences
When you think about it, you‘ll be amazed at how many skills you’re developing during your time at Mac.
Career-Ready Conversations: Learn from your peers
The SSC career peers are volunteer undergraduate students who can help you develop your skills. Leading by example, they took it upon themselves to develop their communication and teamwork skills by interviewing their peers about their experiences and the importance of career-ready skills.
We’ll be sharing the interviews over the next few months, so stay tuned!
Check out the Career-Ready Conversations tag to access all the interviews. In the meantime, here are some ways to get thinking about career readiness and start developing your skills.
- Career-Ready Skills (PDF tip sheet)
- Experience building (programs, services and more)
- Global opportunities (intercultural programs)
- Big Interview (mock interview tool)
- McMaster Students Union (more than 300 clubs and services)
- Lyons New Media Centre (technology services and digital resources)
- LinkedIn Learning (skills development courses)