Eye contact, body language and posture are just a few characteristics employers notice during job interviews.
That could pose a bit of a problem for some teens looking to enter the workforce.
Without question, today’s teenagers are savvy with all things Instagram and Snapchat. They can shoot a text to dozens of classmates in a matter of seconds.
But have you noticed how many of those same kids struggle with face-to-face verbal communication? It’s painful to watch.
According to a recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business report, more than half of Saskatchewan business owners don’t think high school kids are prepared to hold down a job.
They cite basic communication skills as one of the major downfalls in today’s youth and feel high school and post-secondary institutions need to do more to better prepare students for entering the workforce.
More than 56 per cent of Saskatchewan employers surveyed said they were dissatisfied with how high schools prepare youth for employment. Only 32 per cent of Saskatchewan employers surveyed said they were satisfied.
The report recommends schools teach youth more communication and problem-solving skills.
Effective communication, much like basic math and grammar, are skills that will follow you for life. Whether you’re 16 or 50, they are imperative to master.
You can’t always communicate through text and email. But if you do prefer this method and your spelling and grammar skills are lacking, you’ll look like a fool seconds after you hit the reply-all button on that email.
Verbal, in-person conversations are daily occurrences at most workplaces, regardless the line of work. Whether you’re in retail, construction or real estate, these professions, along with dozens of others, require effective communication skills to get the job done.
Initiating and maintaining an intelligent in-person conversation and all of its nuances is a learned skill and an important one to possess in the professional world. This cannot be overstated.
“There’s this gap between what employers need and the skills our educational institutions are emphasizing,” Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Prairie and agri-business vice-president, told the media last week.
“Too many young people enter the workforce without the critical soft skills employers are looking for, which really does put them at a pretty serious disadvantage when they look for that foundational first job … things like a good attitude or strong communication skills or professionalism.”
The report suggests high schools and post-secondary institutions reach out to the business community to help revamp their curriculums to emphasize skills like workplace communication, problem solving and networking.
Recent grads may not have the job experience to impress a potential employer, and an educational background may not set them apart from others. But possessing the confidence to hold a conversation is a skill that can set apart a job seeker from the pack.