January 30, 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.
The University of Tennessee Knoxville, Haslam College of Business
Business Analytics & Statistics, Full-Time MBA, Aerospace & Defense, Executive Education, Professional MBA, Operations Excellence, Global Supply Chain Institute, Business Analytics Forum
Missie Bowers Ph.D.: With the current AI craze, advanced machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement learning, etc. will be valuable.
Missie Bowers Ph.D.: Good solid skills in visualization are still expected along with strong soft skills - especially communication, team work, project management, and leadership.
Brian Birgen Ph.D.: These students will be better prepared for online collaboration. Many companies are learning what aspects of the job require in-person presence and which can be completed remotely. Recent graduates will have experience working collaboratively at a distance, which will become an increasingly important skill.
Brian Birgen Ph.D.: The ability to use technology is only going to grow in importance. The explosion of online collaboration technology is just the latest example of new technologies, but there is sure to be more innovation and creative ways to streamline processes from manufacturing to design to collaboration. Students need exposure to current technologies but also the ability to learn new technologies as they are developed. Students need programming skills, online collaboration experience and the ability to manage large data sets.
Brian Birgen Ph.D.: In-depth projects are the most important experience on a resume. This can be an internship or an undergraduate research project with a faculty member. It can be a study abroad experience, but it must be something the student can talk about in an interview. Students who have taken a project from beginning through redesign and unexpected changes to completion have the experience employers want. Students need to be able to talk about the unexpected challenges they faced and how they overcame them. Your resume should inspire potential employers to want to learn more about your projects.