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With the career market becoming increasingly competitive, the demand for highly-skilled employees continues to rise. However, employers aren’t seeing the skills they would like to see in today’s college graduates.

“Things are changing rapidly, so the more versatile the student is the better,” said Barbara Thompson, the career preparation manager at BYU-Idaho.

According to Intuit, by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be working on a gig or contract basis.

Working on a gig or contract basis means employees are hired due to the skill sets they have obtained through schooling and experience, Thompson explains. These skill sets must be focused on what potential employers are looking for.

“The change seems to be happening more slowly than originally predicted, but this trend indicates a need for universities to help students develop a career-readiness mindset from the moment they set foot on campus,” Thompson said.

In addition, Phil Gardner, one of the leading professionals in national employment trends, researched what employers continually say they would like to see in potential employees.

The list of qualities is outlined in what he calls the T-shape professional model. The horizontal part of the T, says Thompson, is “12 transferable skills in every work situation.” While the vertical part of the T is “a diversified skill set where you know about lots of different areas in your major.”

Thompson explains how BYU-Idaho students can develop and articulate these skills by:

1. Diversifying their degrees with Career and Academic advising staff

2. Leveraging the Research and Business Development Center, especially as freshmen and sophomores, to do hands-on projects for employers with students across varied majors

3. Developing leadership and other transferable skills through involvement in Student Activities and student societies

4. Completing resume review, practice job interview, digital profile review, cover letter review, etc. appointments with the Career Center

“Advisers, faculty, and staff across campus want to help you navigate, strategize, and transition to the more relevant experiences that will help you in your career,” Thompson said. “Please utilize us. It is what we are here for.”


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