He includes this frank perspective on the value of being able to use typical productivity applications in today’s job market.
If your skill set on your resume consists of “Proficient in Microsoft Office”, then you have no marketable skills. Knowing how to create a document, format a PowerPoint, or organise a spreadsheet are not things you can brag about — those are things every employer expects, like knowing how to pronounce your own name, or remaining continent during office hours.
So, if those skills are taken for granted, what does Charlie think does matter? His examples include:
- using Google Reader as a learning resource
- learning to craft good blog posts
- learning to work remotely (i.e. working virtually, without supervision)
- learning skills that are in high demand, and slightly difficult to learn (e.g. from free web tutorials)
- creating a blog, so that prospective employers “Have something positive to look at when they Google your name”
Schools could help with developing these skills, but we’re certainly not there yet. How do you teach a student to create their personal blog, or craft blog posts, for example, if blogs sites are banned by your school’s web filters?
Maybe, though, starting to flesh out a set of “recession survival” skills and finding ways to integrate them into learning activities through Curriculum for Excellence outcomes and experiences, could be a worthwhile direction to take? Who knows, the urgency of helping students get through the recession might just enable us to dismantle some of the current barriers.