10 Skills Employers Seek from Online Program Graduates

Posted: May 1, 2017 10:00:00 AM CDT

10 Skills Employers Seek ImageEntering a competitive job market can seem like a daunting task for college graduates. What do employers need today, and how can an online program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) prepare you?

Aaron Estes, Associate Director of UNK Academic and Career Services, provides insight about transferable skills that many employers seek during the hiring process. Transferable skills can be applied to every job, regardless of your career path or degree. The more of these skills you develop and demonstrate, the higher you rise in the applicant pool.

1. Communication – Strong written and verbal communication skills are in high demand in most positions, particularly within today’s globally connected workforce. Online learning requires effectively communicating ideas and information using a variety of media. Showcasing these skills during an interview speaks volumes about what employers can expect from you on the job.

2. Technology – Job positions may require knowledge of specific technology programs, and having utilized online educational technologies during your studies is an advantage. Learning in an online course shows that you are comfortable communicating and working within a technology-based environment.

3. Collaboration – Interacting with students and faculty during your online program builds crucial skills in collaboration. Completing assignments in teams or groups, often with the challenge of being in different locations or time zones, gives you specific examples of your collaborative success.

4. Critical thinking – Employers seek those who can approach and solve problems from all angles, examining ideas from different perspectives. The university experience in general facilitates critical thinking in students, whether on campus or online. This skill is especially useful for new employees entering a company who can provide fresh ideas and analysis.

5. Adaptability – Connecting how skills from your previous experiences tie to the job you want shows employers that you are capable of a variety of tasks, even those you have not experienced before. Being open to learning new skills quickly and taking on additional tasks as needed is a major advantage.

6. Leadership – Look for opportunities for leadership wherever you are, whether at work, in your online courses, or in your community. Leadership is much more than a position you hold; you can demonstrate it in many settings and connect it to other job-related skills, such as communication or collaboration.

7. Work ethic – Going above and beyond helps your employer get ahead while motivating other employees toward equally high achievements. Balancing education with family, work, and community during your online program shows your dedication to hard work and reaching goals.  

8. Time management – Being purposeful with your time is a skill that applies to both your online studies and the employment world. Talking about your specific techniques for staying on track gives employers an idea of how you will handle multiple deadlines and tasks.

9. Engagement – Showing that you will be focused and invested in a job is important to the success of the company, organization, project, and people involved. Engagement is also crucial in online coursework to get the most from the experience—for yourself and others in the class.

10. Self-evaluation – Everyone has areas of improvement, and employers value those who can offer a fair assessment of their weaknesses along with how they are improving. Be ready to explain what you learned from mistakes or shortcomings and what you are doing to gain new skills.  

Get additional career resources through UNK’s Academic and Career Services, or find an online program to prepare for your next career move.  

By: Rosanna Vail

Category: General, eCampus

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