September 29, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
School of Sport Science
Kevin Rooney Ph.D.: The obvious skills are one's knowledge of anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, and exercise. However, I believe that the most important skill is a person's ability to synthesize their scientific knowledge and effectively apply it in practice.
Kevin Rooney Ph.D.: Communication is the most important soft skill any new and seasoned professional can have. Effective communication demonstrates your command of the information and situation at hand and assists in earning the trust and respect of your clients and peers.
Kevin Rooney Ph.D.: Exercise scientists are well-versed in various areas, including exercise assessment, exercise programming, biomechanics, exercise instruction, and patient/client education.
Kevin Rooney Ph.D.: There are numerous settings Exercise Scientists can work in. I believe that the most important skills to become successful include effective communication, active listening, compassion, being a team player, and critical thinking. Regardless of your work setting, if you possess these characteristics and skills, your professional growth ceiling is endless.
Dr. Michelle Gray Ph.D.: The fitness industry was devasted by COVID-19. Many fitness facilities were forced to shut their doors due to state and local regulations causing many to close permanently. The facilities that were able to hang on found creative ways to interact with their clients. The primary form was through virtual formats such as Zoom. This has never been attempted in the past, but COVID has forced the fitness industry to make significant changes in the way it interacts with clients. Never before have we had the opportunity to go into our clients' homes and expand our reach.
Dr. Michelle Gray Ph.D.: Employers are looking for individuals that can do it all. In my own gym, the owner/manager is seeking applicants that have knowledge in group fitness, personal training, and general facility management. Most employers are ok training on the specific aspects of their gym, but need self-driven and internally motivated employees that will help move the gym to the next level.