The Skills Economy is changing the way organizations identify and evaluate job candidates. One thing is clear: The traditional resume is no longer adequate. In our five-part mini-series, we explore how the resume of the future will help companies win the war for talent. Check out part one and two here.
Say goodbye to the typical "education" section on the resume. According to a recent study from Deloitte Research, recent college graduates today enjoy a salary premium as a result of their degree—but that might change in the near future.
"In a tightening labor market," the researchers wrote, "smart employers should carefully catalog the skills required for the occupations they hire and screen for those skills rather than accepting a bachelor's degree as a proxy for them."
What's more, the rapid pace of technological change is forcing employees to evolve their skills beyond their degrees. A B.A. in computer science doesn't necessarily prove a candidate is up-to-date on the latest programming languages. And in some cases, candidates need to acquire skills for entirely new roles and titles, from machine learning engineer to UX writer to brand activation manager.
To prove they have the right skills for any given role in the future, workers will need a new kind of resume, one that includes more specific demonstrations of their abilities. The resume of the future might include a list of their specific coursework over holistic degrees, short-term project work instead of company tenure and peer ratings to substantiate soft skills.
Evolving the Resume to Reflect Continuous Learning
Employee credentials have to keep pace with the rapid changes taking place in the workforce—and according to research from PwC, post-college courses have the potential to close that gap.
"What any hiring manager is looking for is: Can you do the job?" says Kapeesh Saraf, director of product management at the online education startup Coursera. "Usually, in the past, the best signal was your work experience and degree. The skills that people need on the job are changing rapidly, so people need alternative ways to demonstrate those skills."
Saraf envisions employers and human resources managers in the future will have access to information about the classes their employees have taken and how they've performed across a variety of skills. For instance, the HR manager could see which programmers performed particularly well in Drupal, and make decisions on what projects to assign that person based on this granular data.
Already, the number of individuals engaging in coursework outside of major degree programs is on the rise. In 2017, Saraf said the number of paid learners using MOOCs (massive online open courses) grew 70 percent on Coursera, and Udacity reported 50,000 paid students in its Nanodegree programs. And companies are beginning to take these programs seriously: One interview.io survey found the most reliable predictor of success on a technical score in an interview was whether a candidate had completed a Udacity or Coursera course.
Incorporating A Soft Skills Section
In addition to more up-to-date, more granular representations of hard skills, companies need ways to identify a candidate's soft skills. Rather than rely on tenure at one company as an indicator, peer reviews might act as more detailed indicators of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses.
Saraf says consulting companies such as Accenture and Mphasis are already using peer review data for internal hiring. Colleagues rate their coworkers in terms of specific criterion, such as who's a team player and who shows leadership skills. In turn, HR gathers workers into temporary teams for one-off projects.
"They feed that into their systems to determine not just who's easy to work with or not, but what are the right teams to form," Saraf says.
Saraf imagines the rating system of the future could look something like that of Airbnb's for hosts. A number of areas on Airbnb—cleanliness, responsiveness, etc.—are given number ratings instead of just one overarching number for the host's quality. This granular data gives visitors a much clearer picture of what they're getting before booking a night's stay. The same could be said of hiring a candidate.
"Skills that will be important to consider are those like leadership, organization and dependability," adds Elvis Ha, Manager of product management at Cornerstone. "This will be a drastic change from the generally positive peer reviews we see on places like LinkedIn that only tell one side of the candidate's story."
The Road Ahead for New Credentials
The growth of project-based and gig work will likely increase the relevance of this skills-based approach to the resume in the future. In the meantime, there are still a host of questions to be answered about how candidate's skills will be accurately represented on the resume of the future through coursework, peer reviews and project work. Tech human capital consultant Babette Ten Haken, for example, expressed concern that peer review ratings might oversimplify a worker's skills.
"I'm not a great believer in standalone numbers," Ten Haken said. "They have no understanding of the complexity of the organization: Was the project complex or simple, or a horrible team?"
Saraf acknowledges that it might also become more difficult for people to get a fresh start if peer ratings follow us around throughout our careers. But he's hopeful that the opposite is true regarding the rise of relevant coursework. In his view, online coursework can allow people from diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic circumstances to seize jobs that weren't available to them before. In its 2017 Learner Outcomes Survey, Coursera found that 38 percent of candidates who took courses to advance their careers felt they were in a better position to apply for jobs. Eighteen percent said the online coursework helped them kickstart a new career.
"It creates opportunities for anyone willing to work hard," Saraf says. "In the future, as things get more quantifiable, it means even if someone didn't go to a top school they will have access to the same opportunity whether they went to community college or Stanford—and that's really exciting."
Take a closer look at the resume of the future, here.
Photo: Creative Commons
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Creating an Action Plan for Your Agency’s Skills Gaps
Times change, and agencies cannot predict when their employees will need new skills. Triggers such as new hiring mandates can leave agencies painfully aware of the abilities their workforces lack. However, there are many strategies that exist for closing these skills gaps. GovLoop and Cornerstone OnDemand put together this worksheet to help you and your agency develop an action plan for effectively filling its skills gaps. In this worksheet, you’ll gain insights into: Best practices from the public and private sectors for addressing skills gaps. The strategies for closing skills gaps including recruitment, reskilling, and upskilling. Your agency’s triggers, biggest skills gaps, and the best approach to eliminate those gaps. Download this worksheet to create your action plan to close your agency’s skills gaps.
5 Ways to Empower Employees with Future Skills
With the onset of artificial intelligence and automation, the demand for a highly-skilled workforce dedicated to continued learning is growing. Though these tech tools have vast capabilities, employees need specific skills in order to engage with this emerging technology effectively. But many simply do not possess the necessary knowledge: according to a new report from Deloitte Insights, there could soon be too few college graduates to fill the over six million currently vacant jobs—52 percent of employers say they consistently can't fill open positions. The skills gap is real, and it's widening. Increasingly, organizations need individuals who are able to learn quickly and who are adaptable to outside factors like emerging technology. In today's skills economy—where employees' existing knowledge and their ability to gain new skills are their biggest assets—a lifelong effort to learn new technical, social and managerial skills is a required reality. In partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand, the Institute for the Future unveiled a Future Skills Map highlighting the capabilities that modern workers will need to thrive in an ever-changing, fast-paced, tech-focused work environment. Below are five of the 15 skills outlined in the map that you can already nurture in employees today, and advice for empowering employees to attain them: 1) Get [Course] Credit for Everything To ensure career growth, employees shouldn't rely on existing skills alone. Lifelong learners never stop developing, always getting credit for every new skill they develop, and using those credits to propel themselves along their career paths. Hiring managers can identify individuals who have pursued relevant courses, certifications or made other efforts to learn, and reward them. For example, before looking outward to fill open positions, consider candidates internally who have prioritized gaining new skills. Seeing their colleagues grow will also motivate other employees who may have been complacent in the past. 2) Upgrade Your Digital Fluency Robots aren't replacing humans any time soon, but there's no denying that automation is changing employees' roles. By 2020, companies will spend $150 billion on artificial intelligence, $83 billion on robots and $70 billion on AI-based systems—lifelong learners aren't afraid of this; they embrace it as an opportunity to develop their skills. Managers should help employees more wary of automation focus on ways the technology can simplify their work lives by demonstrating how AI can help them. In the healthcare space, for example, AI now plays a growing role in digitally verifying insurance coverage information, reducing the need for manual calls and freeing up office managers' time to take on important projects, like pricing new technology for the office. 3) Connect the Dots to Make Change Thanks to increased mobility and connectivity, the modern workforce is dispersed. Because of this, insight into everyone's tasks and projects can be a challenge. Lifelong learners make a consistent effort to understand what their colleagues work on—it's the only way to gain a full picture of overall organization goals and help fill gaps that appear. Empower employees, especially leaders, to better understand how their own teams, and other teams across the company, function. This may require bringing on new technology. To connect the dots for its workforce, plumbing-product manufacturing company Kohler implemented a new talent management system across all of its business units. This solution gave leadership deeper insight into employees' roles, skills and team structures. 4) Grow Your Multicultural Dexterity Diversity today means more than different genders, races or religions—it's now about uniqueness of experience, and how these experiences shape individuals and their workforce interactions. Lifelong learners are not afraid to work in unfamiliar situations or with new people, and can quickly and appropriately shift their mindsets and approaches depending on the environment they're working. This skill doesn't come easily to all. Improve employees' multicultural dexterity by challenging them with new environments. Does your organization span multiple offices? Encourage employees to travel between them and interact with colleagues they don't see every day. 5) Grow Caring at the Core Even in the age of automation and AI, humanness is essential in the workforce because it determines how machines are programmed, and how the insight they gather is applied on the job. Empathy is an intrinsic characteristic of lifelong learners because the ability to reflect is key for growth. For others, empathy can be a learned skill. Building empathy should be an ongoing practice in every organization. Open, respectful conversations that address biases and opinions are one way to start. Self-discovery training programs that help individuals assess their own personality types and psychological needs can also help employees better understand themselves before they attempt to understand others. Creating a culture that celebrates lifelong learning and inspires employees to achieve more will only work if the organization's leaders make it a priority. When developing a learning strategy, organizations would do well to remember that just as consumers have expectations of the brands they engage with, employees also expect a great deal from the companies that employ them. The onus is on organizations to deliver the kinds of learning experiences employees now crave—personalized, on-demand and holistic. Photo: Creative Commons
Use Skill Adjacencies to Upgrade Reskilling Efforts
In today’s job market, employers prioritize technical and specialized skills, especially when hiring junior-level employees in an effort to address ever-changing needs. But technical skill shortages in the labor market exist and are likely to continue as technology continues to evolve and rapidly permeate our working lives. As a result, organizations are developing learning and development strategies to address their urgent need for tech talent. Our team at the Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL), in collaboration with the Human Capital Institute (HCI), recently explored this trend, and researched viable solutions for closing the tech talent gap. The final report, titled "The Revolution is Now: New-Skill Your Workforce to Catalyze Change," found that one way that organizations can start to more proactively and quickly address skills gaps—sometimes even before they appear—is by locating skills adjacencies and leveraging them to develop new and necessary skills. This is also referred to as "new-skilling," which is defined as a proactive, data-driven approach to learning that leverages partnerships and tools to simultaneously strengthen existing skills and develop skills for new roles. What Are Skill Adjacencies? Skill adjacencies are linkages between employees’ existing abilities and those that they need to learn. By identifying these adjacencies, HR and L&D professionals can identify opportunities for upskilling or reskilling to meet emerging needs. For example, Gartner Research recently analyzed billions of job postings and found that a company in need of a natural-language processing expert can look to employees with machine learning, Python or TensorFlow experience because these skills are closely related. Similarly, employees with email marketing skills have experience that will help them more easily learn community management, while those with interface design skills can pick up the tenants of modern user research. How Do You Locate Skill Adjacencies? Our findings showed that 46% of high-performing organizations actively work to identify adjacent skill sets to better inform reskilling programs, while only 26% of other organizations do. But while using skill adjacencies to refine upskilling and reskilling efforts can bolster the success of an organization, our research also suggests the methods used to identify skills adjacencies might not be effective enough. Our survey revealed that the most common way to study skill adjacencies was by collecting information on similar employee capabilities online and saving that information into spreadsheets and databases. But these tracking techniques can be esoteric and, especially for larger or more complex organizations, collecting and analyzing the massive amounts of data necessary to identify trends is challenging without more advanced technology. As the need for more technical skills revolutionizes work roles, companies will be better served using emerging technological tools like machine learning or artificial intelligence tools to collect, analyze and identify skill adjacencies. These tools empower companies to parse more information—from not only online job postings but also internal skills surveys, competency models, certification requirements, experience metrics and more—in a faster, more automated fashion. The use of these tools will also ensure that reskilling and upskilling efforts zero in on changing skills trends as they appear and address them before they create deficiencies. Skill Adjacencies Keep Employees Confident In addition to their ability to improve a workforce’s agility, there’s another underlying benefit to skill adjacencies: increased employee confidence. Today, some 40% of employees aren’t confident that their abilities will be relevant in the future. But by directing them to skills development and training that’s aligned with their existing capabilities and their interests, employees will more easily and rapidly transition from their current roles, to emerging positions, to new needs within their organization. To learn more about Cornerstone’s HCI Survey and how to use its findings to inform or update your skills development efforts, click here to download and read the full report.