Whew! Chances are you are doing things differently now than you did at the beginning of 2020. You may have been in an in-person classroom for some of the time, but we have all added a virtual component to our learning, whether it has been hybrid or fully online. Let’s take a look at how you have been refining your employability skills this year.
As I finished a virtual conference this week, the keynote speaker, Kevin Fleming, gave me a new perspective on the word “resilient”. Many counselors and educators have been talking about and asking students to strive to be resilient over the last several years. We have seen application essays ask “How do you show resiliency?” as if this were as far as we could go.
The speaker started his demonstration by setting-up a contrast – fragile. Fragile means easily shattered like a glass vase. It is delicate and under extreme stress the glass vase would crumble. We know this. We have all seen glass break. That isn’t anything new. But here is where he really got my attention. A rubber ball is resilient. When it is bounced on the floor, it experiences extreme stress. But the ball will go right back to what it was before, right back to its original shape. The rubber ball stays a rubber ball. It tolerates the hardness of the floor, but returns to be the same as it was. This is not anything new to us either. We have all seen a ball bounce on the floor. It is still a ball afterward…the same as it was before. Do we want to go back to being the same? Do we want to have learned something? Do we want to see we have grown during this year?
Here is a new word: “antifragile”. Antifragile would be the opposite of fragile. Instead of shattering or crumbling, we could be strengthened, we could benefit from the stress and mindfulness. The speaker’s example was to look at exercise, maybe we are jumping rope. If we jump long enough, day after day, we will be tear our muscles under the extreme stress. But when we use mindfulness, or prescribed rest periods, those muscles come back even stronger. When we embrace the extreme stress and overcome it, when we leverage and use the stress, and take care of ourselves, we grow. We have ALL grown this year.
Some call these “soft skills”. There isn’t anything soft or delicate about them. Employability Skills take a lot of self-reflection, contemplation, practice, and strengthening. These skills include work attitudes, skills and competencies, and work ethics. These skills open doors to postsecondary education and, in turn, they open doors to employment. Employability Skills are what Alaskan Employers Expect! What employability skills have you strengthened this year?
You have demonstrated positive work attitudes through time management by being in the right place at the right time, attending your online classes. You have demonstrated respect for others by remembering everyone has different educational and social-emotional needs. And you have demonstrated appropriate technology use while working on projects, readings, quizzes and assessments in-class, online, and in break-out rooms. You have been flexible while applying what you have learned through new systems and a variety of assignment types to show your skills and competencies. Through honesty and integrity you have shown your teachers and families how your work ethics have been strengthened over these months.
What lessons have you learned? The AKCIS Workplace Employability Skills Self-Assessment can help you evaluate your progress in nine (9) employability skill categories. By reflecting on how you rate yourself in every-day situations, you will identify both your areas of strength and those needing improvement.
Keep track of your employability skills by recording your strengths in the Skills section of the Resume Creator in your AKCIS portfolio. You can find out more about creating your resume in the ACPE blog entry What Makes You Stand Out.
Learn more about employability skills and how those successfully working in Alaska Top Jobs are using them by watching or attending an Alaska LIVE Job Shadow event featuring guest panelists from Alaskan employers. And use the Y.E.S. Poster – Youth Employability Skills from the Alaska Safety Alliance to see what other employability skills you have been developing.