Many parents assume that their sons and daughters need to pick college majors that will lead to jobs after graduation. These same parents may wonder: What are students going to do with a degree in a religious major?
As noted in an earlier blog (“What Is College For?”), here at Pacific Rim Christian University we help our students to lay the foundation for the rest of their lives as Christians, no matter what they may be called to do. Some will be called to jobs in the ministry and church work, while others will be called to jobs in the marketplace—in businesses, schools, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
When it comes to getting a job, however, there is one thing more important than the student’s college major, and that is the student’s skills.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers conducted a survey of 260 employers in the fall of 2014. They asked hiring managers what skills they plan to prioritize when they recruit from the class of 2015 at colleges and graduate schools.
Here are the ten top-rated skills that the employers said they were looking for:
10 Top-Rated Skills Employers are Looking For
Survey by The National Association of College and Employers (2014)
- Ability to work in a team structure
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)
- Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
- Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work
- Ability to obtain and process information
- Ability to analyze quantitative data
- Technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to create and/or edit written reports
- Ability to sell and influence others
Notice that only #7 relates to specific technical knowledge. The other nine are transferable skills that can be used in any job.
Students at Pacific Rim Christian University learn these transferable skills. They work in chapel teams, setting up chapel services, performing the music, operating the sound and light equipment, preaching the message, and preparing and serving meals after the service. They take a public speaking class, which gives them experience in communicating verbally and influencing others. They take a class on critical thinking and a class on research and writing skills, which help them to obtain and process information, analyze data, and create and edit written reports. They learn to plan and organize mission trips to other countries, as well as planning and prioritizing their studies, their part-time jobs, and their leisure. In short, they graduate knowing how to do many of the things that employers value the most.
Picking a college major is important, but employers are more interested in skills than majors. That’s why we make sure our students have many opportunities to learn those skills at PacRim.
Dr. Kent M. Keith