In a previous article, I discussed how students in many university programs are taught many similar self-marketing tactics, which limits their visibility with great companies.

If students don’t learn to uniquely market themselves, employers can’t effectively tell who the best students are. And this limits their chances.

So what can universities and colleges do to help students uniquely market their skills and passions?

How does doing this address the workforce gap between entry-level employees and companies?

The importance of transitioning skills to a trade

According to TIME Magazine, while 59% of students said they are well prepared to apply their knowledge to the real world, just 23% of employers said so.

Academic institutions that offer broad programs that expose students to different areas of expertise are beneficial.

But, sometimes they don’t teach students to monetize their skills

In looking at multiple course programs and descriptions, most classes will offer students academic insight into a subject.

Moreover, in going through those programs, students will acquire soft skills: research capability, concise writing, etc.

But the issue is that there is not enough emphasis on showing students how to use those skills to make money. They don’t offer programs to teach self-marketing techniques.

There are career centres that provide sporadic workshops that teach students how to transfer their skills to the workforce.

But, education is teaching students academic disciplines, without exposure to how to transfer those skills to the workforce.

Work to contextualize learning

As an academic institution, partnering with organizations that teach students how to translate the soft skills they are learning in an industry can be invaluable.

Using the example of IBM’s P-Tech 9-14 Model, employer partners identify entry-level jobs that require the application of significant, rigorous, technical skills in the school’s focus area.

Once identified, the key skills needed for success in these jobs are then detailed and mapped to create a six-year curriculum for students (mostly in high school).

Hence, the connection between free public schooling, community college and workplace learning allows students to translate academic skill to the real labour market.

Therefore, translating a model like this into the university system may be highly beneficial to the students’ careers.

Giving companies a chance to integrate their skill demands with the academic disciplines allows students to become more employable.

And this can jumpstart their careers and connect them easier with great companies.

The importance of teaching self-marketing techniques

Teaching students to brand themselves may be an important addition to the educational structure.

Also, teaching them to perform collaborative efforts with companies to translate their skills into something marketable would be beneficial for both universities and companies.

Social media provides a platform for students to showcase their skills and interests. Schools should teach students to use social media platforms to turn themselves into an online brand

Some skills to teach include:

  • how to choose a brand
  • what platforms to use
  • how to engage influencers, etc.

So, by teaching students to run their social media brands like businesses, they attract the right stakeholders to their social media profiles.

And this enhances their individual profiles and the likelihood of networking with great companies.

Also, by teaching them to take the soft skills they are learning and partnering with organizations to showcase those skills, they learn the fundamentals to run various business roles

And this enhances their business sense and their level of innovation for when they graduate.

The gap

The gap that separates students from great companies can be addressed by analyzing the way students are educated.

We need a more progressive transitionary component. A component that helps students transfer soft skills from their academic education into the modern market.

We need to teach our students self-marketing techniques for them to know how to stand out in the market.

Therefore, by doing this, students become more innovative and indispensable to companies.

Companies benefit from a higher sense of business savvy and innovation

Colleges/universities become more attractive by having a progressive bridging mechanism that better connects students to the workforce.

Everybody wins.

So, do you think that universities should teach students to build a personal brand? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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