You’re hired!

Synopsis: It’s simple logic. If you want to thrive in today’s job market you have to have the skills employers are looking for.

Perhaps one of the biggest shifts in employment trends in past 20 years has been a growing emphasis on candidates having a “portfolio of skills”. While technical knowledge alone was once king, employers are now looking for people with a broader set of skills. A willingness to take ownership of work, the ability to get things organized and the capacity to get things done, are the new currency in the job market. Achievement is what matters and achievement in today’s complex business environment takes a depth of skills that builds upon, but goes beyond, the more traditional academic studies.

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) nicely documents employer’s wish list when hiring. NACE is a non-profit organization that studies employment trends and facilitates interactions between colleges and employers. Interviewing more than 250 employers, NACE asked those making hiring decisions what skills they look for in candidates. Quoting the report, NACE found that “When employers were asked which attributes they look for on a candidate’s resume, the biggest group of respondents (77.8 percent) chose both “leadership” and “the ability to work in a team structure.”

The full list, in sequence, was as follows:

  1. Leadership (selected by 78% of respondents to the survey)
  2. Ability to work in a team
  3. Written communications skills
  4. Problem solving skills
  5. Strong work ethic
  6. Analytical / quantitative skills
  7. Technical skills
  8. Communications skills verbal
  9. Initiative
  10. Computer skills
  11. Flexibility / adaptability
  12. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
  13. Detailed oriented
  14. Organizational ability
  15. Strategic planning skills
  16. Friendly / outgoing personality
  17. Entrepreneurial skills / risk taker
  18. Tactfulness
  19. Creativity (selected by 18% of respondents to the survey)

UPDATED – 2019 – The 2104 report outlined above is no longer available. Instead reference the following up to date article from NACE: Employers want to see these attributes on students resumes.

Matching that list up to the more traditional diploma, bachelors or MBA programs, there is a disconnect. While classroom type learning environments do a good job of developing technical knowledge and building awareness of the issues affecting today’s business, “sage on the stage” type lectures aren’t as effective at developing the hands on skills and capabilities NACE’s research pinpoints. At the University of British Columbia (UBC) we provide an opportunity for people to bridge that gap. Supplementing the strong knowledge based foundations that traditional diplomas, bachelors and MBA programs deliver, our goal is to help people develop the depth of understanding needed to apply the knowledge.  Those additional insights are the stepping stones to the phrase everyone wants to hear … “you’re hired!”

With that in mind, the UBC Project Management certificate program, has a philosophy that emphasizes:

  1. Application rather than just theory
  2. Practicalities rather than generalizations
  3. Worked examples rather than just concepts
  4. Meaningful explanations rather than dense texts
  5. Relevant research rather than abstract studies.