Montez King weighs in on current job market trends

Zippia the Career Expert


December 23, 2020

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.

Our Panel of Experts

Nancy Tag

The City College of New York

Montez King

National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)

Samantha Enslen

Dragonfly Editorial

Paula Ketter

Association for Talent Development

Will there be an enduring impact of the coronavirus pandemic on graduates?

Montez King: There will definitely be an enduring impact on graduates. As the leader of an organization, I have been challenged with overhauling our products and services to be scalable and sustainable in a coronavirus and post-coronavirus economy. We have had to figure out quickly how we need to pivot in the delivery of our services to operate successfully in a contactless marketplace. These solutions can be in favor of our future workforce, as this generation is comfortable with using technology. However, contactless environments can also have an extremely negative impact on individuals that rely on a face-to-face work environment and work-place socialization for stability. This is not necessarily realized until one is faced with contactless interaction for extended time. Young graduates must find ways to maintain stability, engage with their colleagues, network with peers, and learn to be productive regardless of their environment, as confidence in face-to-face work environments will take years to fully recover.

What type of skills will young graduates need when they enter the workforce in the coming years?

Montez King: Young graduates must first realize the new economy and distinguish between the old. This is key for recognizing needed skills beyond what counselors or parents may suggest. The new economy reveals that more than 50 percent of the jobs in the US workforce will require performance validating credentials, something less than a four-year degree but more than a high school diploma. These needed credentials are skill-related rather than typical learning degrees (four-year degrees). This is due to an economy that relies heavily on practical and technical skills to remain or become competitive. Despite an overwhelming demand for a skilled workforce, young graduates are choosing a path of learning credentials due to pressures from peers, family, and career counselors. The perception in the majority of our communities that a four-year degree holds an upper class distinction pushes our future workforce against the real needs of the new economy. In this new economy, "Cs" get degrees, but they do not necessarily get jobs. Another existing challenge that must be explored to better understand the true skills needed to enter the workforce is tunnel learning. This is when someone focuses too heavily on a traditional occupation and does not acquire related skills. The new economy has shown that occupations are meshing together. This creates gray lines between occupations. Consequently, young graduates must be able to identify and understand the connectivity between occupations within their industry. Successful companies thrive by having a workforce that operates with seamless connectivity between needed skill sets. In regard to actual skills needed, young graduates should attain skills (at some level) in technology, regardless of their occupation. This is because technology is or is becoming the cornerstone of everything. See below for technology duties associated with most occupations: -Writing scripts to add additional functionality to most technology devices that support a business's operations -Programming devices such as robots, machine tools, etc. -Programming PLCs -Networking devices -Creating visual tools -Data collection -Contextualizing data -Analyzing -Writing queries -Reporting

What experience really stands out on resumes?

Montez King: A resume stands out to an employer when a candidate is able to show that they can create an experience when they do not have actual experience on-the-job. This is when someone reverse engineers a product for better understanding and is able to gain practical experience and clearly explain that on their resume. Young graduates will not likely have enough real world experience, if any, so they need to create their own and highlight it on their resumes. This reveals true potential to their prospective employers.

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