The Macleay Argus

How graduates can prepare for employment in the digital age

How graduates can prepare for employment in the digital age

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With the COVID-19 pandemic kicking the digital transformation of global industry into overdrive over these past few years, young graduates have been revisiting their course materials in order to evaluate the role that their education will have played in preparing them for this digital age.

The nature of employment has already changed so much, and so it's perfectly reasonable for Aussie students to consider taking their digital preparedness into their own hands, but what options are available to them exactly?

We'll be taking a closer look at just how Aussie graduates can prepare for this changing job industry, and better equip themselves to thrive in the digital age.

Gain some technical qualifications

For many who had already commenced tertiary courses prior to the pandemic, the transition from on-campus to online learning may have come with some minor course alterations. Chances are also high that most of these alterations revolved around better utilising digital technologies to aid in the e-learning process.

Both students and professionals alike have been recognising the importance of technological management as a skill set, which is what led to the development of technology management courses.

A Masters of Technology Management is rapidly becoming viewed as an ideal alternative to the traditional MBA, as more corporations are looking for digital or tech literacy in job candidates over industry knowledge in many cases. After all, industry knowledge can be developed on the job, whereas there is substantially less time to train new recruits to efficiently use digital tools and emerging technologies.

If you're a post-graduate who has already completed a master's level course, even undertaking some short courses for the purpose of upskilling can help you stand above the crowd, and demonstrate to prospective employers that you recognise industry trends, acknowledge the realities of digital transformation, and possess the initiative to prepare yourself accordingly.

Use all of the digital resources available to you

Believe it or not, digital resources like social media and website builders are all part of the business landscape in their own right. Platforms like LinkedIn and oftentimes even Twitter, prompt professionals to present their services and expertise online as a means of consolidating your position in your industry.

If you're looking to build a career for yourself within a particular niche, then demonstrating your readiness to be involved in that niche through the use of the digital resources available to you, will make you an infinitely better job candidate in the digital age.

Young graduates are also highly encouraged to develop their own digital portfolios using website builders, just so prospective employers can freely engage with samples of your work well before you even go in for an in-person interview. A readiness to share your work and an ability to present it with pride and transparency will only continue to impress prospective employers as we delve deeper into the digital age.

Clean up your digital footprint

Of course, with curating your own professional digital presence, there also comes the need to balance this created digital footprint with your own existing personal digital footprint.

It's becoming increasingly commonplace for prospective employers to Google candidates before the interview stage of their onboarding process, so you'll want to ensure that no unsavoury search results pop up when your name is entered into search engines.

Some examples of things that you'll want to clean up include personal social media profiles that date back to high school, YouTube channels with any older videos, and any personal blogs that you've left idle. It may take an afternoon or two of multifactor authentication codes to access and then disable all of these old profiles or at least limit how they appear to third-party visitors, but once it's done, you'll be able to reap all the professional benefits that accompany a minimal digital footprint.

As you can imagine, cleaning up your digital footprint can feel particularly daunting for Generation Y & Z graduates, as these generations were the first to be able to call themselves 'digital natives', and may thus, have the largest number of outdated accounts online over any other generations.

Whatever you are able to clear will, however, be of professional benefit to you, alongside developing a more focused digital presence through the use of professional social media profiles and a digital portfolio.

Invest in home office essentials

Finally, with digital transformations paving the way for the growth of a global remote workforce, it's becoming increasingly likely that young graduates may find themselves in professional roles where they can work from home or adopt a hybrid work model.

Even if you aren't looking at obtaining a professional role where you specifically have the option to work from home, you may still find yourself benefiting greatly from having an office space in your home.

There's also a growing amount of literature that asserts that professionals who work remotely or maintain a hybrid work week can be substantially more productive than professionals who work solely in their company office space. This rings especially true for professionals who worked in open plan offices prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, who registered that the removal of distractions that are presented by open offices only allowed them to boost their focus and output within office hours.

Even post-pandemic, home offices are largely considered to be a staple for professionals in our current economic landscape. As such, it's highly recommended that young graduates amend their home studies into office spaces that are fully equipped with all the tools and resources that they'll need in order to develop their professional skills.

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In a sense, preparing for employment in the digital age will largely mean making full use of all the new opportunities and novel challenges that the digital age has and will present.

Young graduates who equip themselves with the right knowledge, skills, resources, and above all, attitude, will likely find that they are more than capable of adapting to digital transformation in their industries, and boosting their own digital capabilities as they further their professional lives.