Digital Natives: Highlight Your Tech Skills!

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If only career transitions were as warm and inviting as the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center on the campus of Valparaiso University

Last week, I made my second visit to the campus of Valparaiso University where I worked with seventeen German and  Spanish majors on their college to career transition.

Valpo was the first campus to specifically request that I develop a module on “Managing Your Digital Identity for the 21st Century Workplace.”  It works well with language students because we can use the terms “native” and “immigrant” to talk about digital expertise.  

Native speakers of a language are “experts” in the language they speak in the sense that they can use it fluently in a wide variety of contexts, but this doesn’t mean that they can explain how that language works or why certain structures do or don’t exist or the history of a particular word.  An “immigrant” who learned that same language as a second language is more likely to understand the inner workings–all the hows and whys.

The same can be true for technology–and the same misconceptions about what it means to be a native persist. Older hiring mangers might expect a lot of younger digital natives while digital natives might take the skills they do have for granted and not contemplate the skills they lack.

Here’s the long and short of it: don’t let misperceptions or lack of experience get between you and a fulfilling career!  Take an hour here and there to develop your digital expertise.  IMG_7188-2After my first trip to Valpo, I posted on the need to Craft a Professional Digital Identity.  And just as I returned from my second trip last week, Hannah Morgan of Career Sherpa published this wonderful post: Summary Sunday: Get Tech Savvy. She includes a lot of links and tips to build a professional online presence, create a personal website, and maximize your use of LinkedIn.

As I travel to work with humanities faculty, I’ll be working on integrating both hard and soft tech skills into the college courses we teach so that we can support students in developing the skills they need before they enter the college to career transition.


2009 Head ShotDarcy Lear is a career coach specializing in academic writing, job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. To schedule a campus workshop or for help navigating your career transition, contact Darcy: darcylear@gmail.com
 
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