How To Prepare Youth For A Digital Workforce And An Uncertain Future
Updated: Nov 7, 2020
For young people preparing to enter the workforce, knowing how to secure a job is challenging enough - but now there are even more obstacles to overcome due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People around the country are experiencing greater difficulty adapting to everchanging work environments and ongoing economic shifts. Pew Research Center recently shared that 90 percent of jobs lost during COVID-19 were positions that could not telework.
Fortunately for young people now entering the job market or making career moves, programs are available to help them succeed in any future career or workplace. Boys & Girls Clubs of America, in partnership with Toyota and The Coca-Cola Company, provides youth nationwide with workforce readiness programs, which includes access to real-life job experiences and resources needed to build valuable skills and become career-ready.
Below are three tips leveraged from Boys & Girls Clubs of America for how young people can prepare for success in the workplace and in life:
1. Develop Skills for Remote Work
With so many uncertainties in the world right now, it is critical you focus and refine skills that help position you as a strong candidate in the applicant pool. Establishing strong verbal and non-verbal communication skills ensures easier transitions to a remote workforce, which many people are adapting to. Practice public speaking and writing with your friends and family, and ask them to make constructive critiques. With each time, you will learn how to better articulate your thoughts and present yourself with confidence and poise. Practicing proper body language, like eye contact and good posture, is also beneficial to best communicate with hiring managers during interviews as well as coworkers once you land the job.
Furthermore, identifying your areas of improvement is also very valuable to work on when preparing for a job. Is time management a struggle in fast-paced environments? Do you sometimes find it difficult to adapt to unexpected changes? If the answer is yes to either question, Purdue University suggests managing these situations better by identifying time wasters, setting goals and establishing routines.
2. Create Your Own Virtual Career Fair
Entering the workforce can be scary, but spending time researching and investing in resources to help you learn about different career paths can diminish that fear and make the job search fun. Creating your virtual career fair will help you identify various job opportunities, become familiar with the skills employers seek out in specific career settings and widen your horizons on the jobs available to you.
You might be asking yourself, "how do I create my own virtual career fair?" First, consider utilizing free, online resources like youth.gov and mynextmove.org that provide you with skill and interest assessments and point you to jobs that match your results. From there, you'll be able to view job applications and internship opportunities with an idea of what you like and what interests you. Alternatively, virtual field trips or virtual career exploration tools are becoming more prevalent and popular among today's youth. For example, for teens who might be interested in manufacturing or engineering, Toyota North America offers a virtual behind-the-scenes look at their manufacturing plants through their Teen Drive 365 video series.
3. Prepare for Virtual Interviews
Before any interview, preparation is imperative so you're able to put your best foot forward. First, you must create a resume that clearly and concisely highlights why you're the perfect match for the job. Your resume is a recruiter's first impression of you. To ensure you "wow" any recruiter, research free online resume writing tutorials or download resume templates to spruce things up. Also, ask for a second pair of eyes on your resume to check for any spelling or punctuation errors as well as to provide overall feedback. Additionally, host mock video interviews with a parent or peer to make you feel fully prepared for the actual interview. Recruiters across the country are hiring young people virtually now, so becoming comfortable speaking through a computer will improve your confidence and show the recruiter you mean business.
Boys & Girls Club of America's Workforce Readiness programs arm youth with a special set of skills and resources to shape their futures, feel confident exploring new opportunities and envision endless possibilities. Learn more at bgca.org/workforce.