#SkillHacks - Key skills for your successful career

The most sought after and exploited 5 skills on the labor market
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Dr. Zselyke Pap

Counselor at the Career Counseling and Guidance Center (CCOC) of the UVT

What does university studies help me with? Why would I sign up? What are my chances of getting a job after my student years? Is it worth it? Will I know more and be better prepared with "college" than without?… These questions, and many more, come as an avalanche in the minds of students who are on the verge of graduating from high school and who have to make a very important career decision in the coming months or weeks. We understand your worries, dear student, and to help you, I wrote this short article to give you an insight into those issues. relevant skills that are sought after and exploited in the labor market and that you can develop during your studies, even if they are not necessarily part of the professional skills developed by the study program you choose. 

During your university studies you learn much more than the theoretical information specific to a field. You learn how to organize your time, how to plan your activities, how to become more responsible for your life and your tasks, and many things that develop you as a person, no matter what specific field you choose to study. The list of skills you develop in addition to the professional ones corresponding to the study program you are following is very long, so for this article I chose the most sought after and exploited 5 skills on the labor market.

1. Critical thinking. The skill that helps you assimilate reality, not what someone else thinks about reality 

Organizations are looking for employees who can filter the information and integrate it in the most accurate and relevant way possible to solve a specific problem. Our minds are brilliant, but they also have limitations, including the tendency to believe in information presented by an authority, a group of people, or, more recently, the Internet, without a healthy dose of skepticism. Studies show that we are prone to believe false information, especially in situations where we are under pressure or feel anxious, especially if that information reduces the anxiety we feel. Critical thinking is a basic skill for learning, but also for survival in the most successful occupations in which employees work with a large amount of information daily. Those with the ability to think critically they evaluate the information they receive, put it in several perspectives and ask questions about the relevance and correctness of the information. Without this competence, in the age of the Internet and the abundance of relevant and accurate information, but also of Fake news without a filter, there is a risk of assimilating a lot of information, but not finding its relevance in your activity, or developing a distorted view of reality. 

To develop your critical thinking skills, a very simple and useful mental exercise is to ask as many questions as possible about the information you hear or read: 

Where does this information come from? 

What other information supports what is presented to me? 

What contradicts this information? 

Another way to develop critical thinking is get acquainted with several different perspectives. The question you can ask yourself is: What other perspectives do I know or could I find on this topic? A useful way for you to expose yourself to different theoretical and practical perspectives is to participate in complementary disciplines offered by UVT pe during your university studies. These subjects can be chosen from any other field of study within the UVT than the one in which the university study program in which you are enrolled is included. A complementary discipline that offers a slightly different perspective can help you develop a flexible and critical view of the reality you are studying. 

2. Digital skills. Student supplies in the XNUMXst century

Regardless of the field of study you choose, be it preschool education, economics, chemistry, arts, psychology, mathematics, physics, philology, law or communication, during your studies and in the following professional activity you will use various digital programs and tools. and you will have to use a number of applications that are universally encountered in almost any job. Developing your digital skills does not mean that you have to learn programming or do other very complicated things "on the computer". It means comfortable operation in a set of basic programs that will make your daily activity easier. 

The first set of applications that you will have to learn to use almost every day is Microsoft Office software suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Planner etc.). To make it easier for you to acquire skills in using these programs, UVT offers for all its students free and unlimited access to the Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus package. Microsoft applications can be used for a variety of academic or professional activities, from creating and editing documents to creating presentations, data analysis, project management, and many other tasks that will be part of your student work. be a basic requirement in most jobs in the job market when you get hired. 

Another set of applications that is useful to get acquainted as well as possible during your studies is the package Google Suite / Google Apps (GMail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Google Drive, Google Meet, etc.), which helps you to communicate efficiently and quickly with all the people involved in your business and to organize your tasks and responsibilities in a clear way. UVT comes to your aid in this aspect as well, creating for each student an institutional e-mail address @e-uvt at the beginning of the first year of study with which you have unlimited access to all the Google applications mentioned above and many more. 

If you already easily use these basic task programs, your student years may be the time to get better and learn to do more complex things using the more advanced features of these applications or discover new ones. You will certainly reap the fruits of the work you invest in learning them in any field you choose to build your career, helping you to streamline your work. Advanced knowledge of the use of various digital tools and applications can always be an advantage in the job market or in the development of your career.

3. Solving complex problems. The computer in your mind is more powerful than any technology

Although we have placed in the previous section the importance of digital skills, what is important to emphasize further is the risk of outsourcing too many of the tasks that our mind should do to various devices / devices and to the internet. Yes, current devices (computers, laptops, tablets, phones, etc.) give us a range of applications and access to information, but they should be facilitators and tools for our thinking and problem-solving process, not replacements. of it. 

The era of careers in which the employee receives repetitive tasks, simple and solvable by the same algorithm each time has come to an end with the development of technology. This means for you, a future student, that starting with university studies you will receive more and more complex problems to solve, to which you must often find a new, creative answer that integrates different (and sometimes even contrasting) information. ), from different sources. In order to be able to solve complex problems, you have to you constantly train your mind to solve simple problems independently. For example, when you have to do a mathematical calculation that is not too complicated, it is better for your mind to do it in the classic way, "with a pencil on paper", than to immediately use the computer on the phone. If you need to find a way to combine some information to write a paragraph, it is better to write more versions and compare them to decide which version is clearer and best reflects the information you want to convey. , than to look for a template on the internet and apply the template to your work.  

Remember, the internet is a very useful tool, but you need to set a line between how much the internet solves your problems and how much you use your mind as the main resource (extraordinary and fascinating) to find answers to complicated questions. The more you outsource your thinking skills to the Google service, the harder it will be for you to cope in a situation where the internet or technology no longer helps you. The more exercise you have in solving everyday problems without letting the internet do it for you, the more you will have a trained mind for a future in which you will solve problems constantly, in various ways, such as to have professional success. 

4. Social and intercultural skills. The keys to your social and professional network

The professional path that you will cover in almost any field will put you in situations of collaboration and teamwork with people from various backgrounds. The jobs you can do alone, without a team or collaborators, are on the verge of extinction, which means that social skills are transformed into basic professional skills. There are many strategies through which you can become more involved and develop connections while studying with those you study and work with, and we’ve covered a few of them in another short article

What is relevant to emphasize here is the importance of developing the ability to understand and accept people with other cultural backgrounds and, implicitly, with a different set of mentality. The heightened globalization that the world has gone through in recent years has greatly increased the likelihood that at some point you will work with people from other countries and cultures, cosmopolitanism and interculturality being characteristics of today's labor market, and your ability to adapt to interactions. with colleagues who have other values, beliefs and mindsets will define much of the way you manage to collaborate with these people. To develop this skill, the shortest way is direct exposure to other cultures, and in this regard can help those plague 500 partnerships with higher education institutions in over 60 countries around the world which UVT has currently concluded. You can thus access programs that offer you study and internship mobility both in other European countries and in more exotic and more remote countries in the corners of the world, where you would not have thought you could ever study. 

5. Adaptation to change. Keep up with what is happening around you and you will discover more opportunities

Another feature of the labor market in the XNUMXst century is the very fast pace of change in tasks, the work environment, the people we work with and the technology that employers use. In almost any job advertisement you will find somewhere the requirement: "the ideal candidate must be able to adapt to change". The work has become very dynamic, which means that we, in turn, we need to learn to be more dynamic and adapt to change, because the environment will not adapt to us. 

How does university studies help you acquire this competence? During your student years you will have a number of responsibilities and tasks that may change due to external factors (such as the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic), but in the university environment you are up to a certain degree protected, and you can learn and experience along the way the ways of adaptation that work best for you, without being directly exposed to an environment in which if you do not adapt quickly you can suffer more serious consequences. The more seriously you treat your years of study and get more involved in the various activities available, the more you will expose yourself to different environments and learn, step by step, how to adapt to new requirements, new people and new conditions. And finally, when you get hired, you will already have experience with various structured activities, in which you had real responsibilities and which can be a relevant advantage for a job. To maximize these benefits, we recommend that you get involved and volunteer in one student organization, Such as OSUT - Students' Organization from the West University of Timișoara. These organizations can offer you experiences that you do not gain in any other environment and can develop you in ways that you would not have thought possible. 

To summarize… 

The digital and globalized future that is being talked about everywhere is no longer just a future. It is the current reality. And this current reality involves the accumulation of a set of skills that you need in any career in the XNUMXst century, but they are transversal, you can acquire them through any university study program you choose. So, to answer your question "Does it help me to pursue a university degree?", our answer is: Definitely yes! 

If you are actively involved in the learning process, if you do not simply memorize everything that is in front of you, if you take the time to get acquainted with basic technology, if you train your mind to solve problems and get acquainted with other cultures , and if you learn to adapt to new environments and to as diverse situations as possible, the university environment offers you the right context and the necessary resources to be able to acquire and develop these skills.

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