Last week I read this article about why every job seeker should have a personal website. In my work as a career coach, I hear these statements a lot:
The résumé is dead. You need to work on your brand. Build a kickass website to showcase your skills. Dedicate time to your social media presence. Blah blah blah.
All typed on a typewriter.
In career services we talk a lot about digital identity and the importance of creating footprints that people want to follow after. Don’t get me wrong, it is important; our future workforce needs to keep up with emerging communication trends. But what we often fail to discuss is the issue of tech accessibility for many of our students and job seekers.
Quite simply, we leave them behind instead of meeting them where they are.
No matter their age, many of my students did not grow up using technology– and they still don’t have easy access to these resources. They rely on campus computer labs to access the internet, and because we assume that our students are digital natives, we don’t take the time to teach them how to use web browsers, email, or how to upload and download files.
As a result, these students are treading water– teaching themselves how to navigate the basics while we’re babbling about Tweeting your way to a job. So how can we bridge this digital divide?
Pause your plans to “flip your classroom” and start by teaching the basics in person. Here are somethings I think students should learn before they dive into more advanced concepts:
- Explain the function and purpose of word processors, learning management software, email, web browsers, etc. (ex: Microsoft Office, Blackboard, Outlook/Gmail, Chrome)
- Navigate the web to collect and analyze information (ex: journal articles, job descriptions, company information)
- Upload and download files to the web (assignments, résumés, photos)
- Craft effective, courteous, and grammatically correct emails (including a professional email signature)
- Articulate personal strengths, interests, and goals (in person and in writing)
- Adapt online writing style and formatting for multiple audiences
- Demonstrate excellent phone/email etiquette
- Record personalized voicemail messages for home and cell phones
- Choose appropriate medium with which to communicate
- Troubleshoot technology issues independently
- Adapt to new tools and devices quickly
- Discuss ways to incorporate social media tools into the communication arsenal
- Recognize that technology will continue to change and evolve
Just to name a few. What would you add to the list of “basics?” What programs and resources are in place on your campuses?