Latest Gallup Poll Reveals What Employers Look for When Hiring Employees

Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Image courtesy of Gallup, Inc.
Image courtesy of Gallup, Inc.

Qualifications. Employers favor them. Candidates want to develop them. But what does this factor even mean? And how can candidates and employers share the same definition of qualifications?

For the past three years, Gallup, Inc. and the Lumina Foundation have released an annual survey (What America Needs to Know About Higher Education Redesign) gauging the American public’s perception of higher education, including workforce readiness. This year, in addition to this poll, a second survey was conducted of business leaders in the U.S. to determine what factors they favor when making hiring decisions for their organizations. The results reveal the qualifications employers want in a candidate and the competencies you should develop to get hired. According to the Gallup-Lumina Foundation study:

In ten years, business leaders say 55% of jobs at their organizations will require some kind of post-secondary degree, credential or certification.*

In the future, business leaders noted in the survey that they expect a shift in educational requirements for over half of the job opportunities at their organizations. In addition, they foresee that it will be more important, if not already required, that future job candidates possess a post-secondary degree or credential to be considered for any positions.*


84% of business leaders consider a candidate’s knowledge as a very important hiring factor, while 79% of business leaders find a candidate’s applied skills in the field to be very important when making hiring decisions for their organizations.


Business leaders indicated in the survey that they are looking for candidates with specific skills, experience and knowledge when making hiring decisions. A candidate must be able to possess these key factors to get a good job.


In addition to experience, business leaders most want employees to possess strong communication skills, including writing and speaking skills.


To succeed in the workforce in the coming years, business leaders specified in the poll that employees should develop strong communication skills, including writing and speaking, in addition to the on-the-job, practical experience required in their chosen field.

What does this mean?

If you haven’t given much thought to a career plan, then now is the time to start. By creating a plan, cultivating the skills you’ll need for your chosen career and including any relevant degrees or certifications, you’ll help ensure your future success.

Your future employers are looking for a well-rounded employee; focus on using every learning opportunity to develop the workforce skills that will set a solid career foundation. And when it comes to rewriting that English Composition I paper, again, trust that you are refining your writing, communication and English skills.

Your future self will thank you.

*The Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that 63% of all job openings by 2018 will require workers with college degrees.  Source: Projection of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Center on Education and the Workforce.


Tags: Business and Management , Career , Going Back to College , Majors and Degree Programs , Motivation , Taking Courses

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9 Things You Can Learn From Your Kids About Going Back to School

Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Your dinner table is covered in textbooks and papers… pencils are hiding under folders… and you can just make out a calculator or two buried under some barely legible scribbled notes. But none of it belongs to your children.

Homework time isn’t just for kids anymore.

Where you once quizzed your son in preparation for his spelling test, he’s now quizzing you for your World Geography final exam. Just as you used to listen to your daughter read aloud in the other room while you secretly listened from the kitchen sink, she’s now offering pointers on how to be a more effective public speaker for your video assignments. Or maybe you’ve noticed that your pre-teen excels on a test when he or she gets a full night sleep the day before.

Whether your kid is six or 36, there’s a lot you can learn from them about going back to school, reaching a milestone and succeeding.

They get rest.
Children hate naps, and they will huff and puff before finally falling asleep. Without much needed rest, a tantrum isn’t far behind. However, when they wake up from the sleep they so vehemently refused, they are instead refreshed and energetic. Sound familiar? Like most adults, you probably don’t get enough sleep. But by ensuring you get a full night’s rest, you too can wake up ready and recharged to tackle the day (and that final exam) ahead.

They stay creative.
You know how they can turn almost anything into an art project? Dried pasta becomes a macaroni necklace, and your kitchen wall becomes a finger paint project (whether you knew about it or not…). They see the possibilities in even the most mundane things. You too can take a step back and think outside the box. By pausing and rethinking your options, there’s no doubt you can produce a masterpiece your creative writing mentor will love.

They’re confident.
No matter the circumstances, a child’s confidence speaks volumes. Nothing can break their spirit, and as adults, we can’t help but admire that. They can’t ride a two-wheeler? No problem! They’ll climb on anyway and in a couple hours (and a few scraped knees), they’ve accomplished what they set out to do. Consider your own confidence. Worried about how hard a course may be? Why not challenge yourself? The results may surprise (and delight) you.

They ask for help.
When they were two, they needed help getting dressed. When they were 10, they needed help with homework. They were never afraid to ask for your help, so why should you be afraid to do the same? There are some things in life that can’t be tackled alone; we all need a little help along the way. So if you are confused by an assignment, or your group project seems to rest squarely on your shoulders, send that email or make that phone call to ensure your education is on the right track.

They never stop learning.
Childhood is filled with triumphs, achievements and small victories. Whenever they learn a new skill or lesson, it’s a celebration of their development. Learning is crucial in childhood, and it should never stop in adulthood. Learning is a never-ending cycle, and should be treated as such. By continuing to pursue subjects passionate to you, life becomes an interesting lesson every day, and your memory will get a boost too.

They have fun.
Kids are on a constant quest to play and have fun. They simply do what they enjoy doing. And we can’t help but be jealous as our days revolve around responsibilities and busy schedules. But even with a full calendar, you can still have fun. Enjoy the outdoors? Combine it with family time. Love traveling? Take a course on world geography (and use it to research your next vacation destination).

They pursue new interests.
On Monday your child comes home claiming they want to play soccer. Then, on Thursday, they’ve determined that they want to take piano lessons. Their interests are wide and varied, but before you know it, they are on the field getting grass stains and playing “Mary had a Little Lamb” on the piano. So it’s ok if you want to pursue new interests, even a different degree than the one you started 20 years ago. Every new experience can enrich our lives and bring exciting and rewarding triumphs.

They don’t take no for an answer.
Sure, this one may cause some consternation when your child goes about doing what they want, even after you’ve told them no. But children can be very resourceful; told they can’t get a raise on their allowance? Instead, they set up a lemonade stand in the driveway. Don’t let ‘no’ be a final answer for you either. Can’t get that promotion because of your background? Learn the knowledge you’ll need so that next time, you will make the answer “yes.”

They give it their all.
It can be heartbreaking when your child does his or her best, only to come up a little short of their goal. But children have a remarkable resilience that inspires them to get back up and try again, whether focusing on something new or going for round two. Whenever you find life isn’t going your way - maybe you didn’t achieve the exam grade you wanted – get back up and try again. Kids prove time and again that persistence pays off, and your best is all that matters.

How have your children inspired you to go back to school? What have you learned from them?

Tags: Going Back to College , Motivation , Taking Courses , Time Management , Work-Life Balance

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The Gold is Not Enough: Famous Olympic Athletes That Went Back to College

Posted Friday, February 07, 2014

Tonight’s opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will officially kick start 17 days of competitions among 85 nations, with an estimated 3 billion people around the world projected to watch the Sochi Games. The U.S Olympic Team is bringing 230 athletes, consisting of 106 returning Olympians and including 13 Olympic champions. There will be winners and missed chances, dreams achieved and dreams crushed. But regardless of the rank, score or place of these athletes, they will dazzle us with their talent and determination.

But where do they go when they have reached the pinnacle of their training, when the luster of a gold, silver or bronze medal wears off? Only upwards and onwards to their next goal; the pursuit of a college degree. Check out below which U.S. Olympians just didn’t quit, whether it’s on the ice, the uneven bars or the classroom.

Venus Williams
Considered one of the all-time greatest players in women’s tennis, only outranked by younger sister Serena, Venus Williams grand slammed her way to four gold medals in the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic games. But she doesn’t rest on past laurels, or titles; in 2007 Williams received an associate’s degree in Fashion Design, and in 2011, enrolled in an online program to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business. A self-proclaimed long-time lover of learning, she’s stated that her ultimate goal is to earn an MBA degree in the next four years.


Michelle Kwan
Considered one of the greatest figure skaters of all time, Michelle Kwan won a silver medal and a bronze medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, respectively. In pursuit of a college degree since 1998, Kwan graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a minor in political science. She then went on to pursue a master’s degree in international relations, graduating in 2011.


Kerri Strugg
Well known for her dramatic performance with an injured ankle and subsequently carried to the podium to receive her medal, Kerri Strugg won the gold that year in women’s gymnastics at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Shortly after, Strugg announced her retirement from the sport, earned her bachelor’s degree and received a master’s degree in sociology.

Sarah Hughes
Appearing only in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Sarah Hughes did walk away with a gold medal in women’s figure skating. A year later, in 2003, she enrolled in college and graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies.

Jackie Joyner-Kersey
She may have begun her studies as a traditional college student from 1980-1985, but Joyner-Kersey took a year off to train for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics in the heptathlon. After winning the silver medal that year, she returned to finish her undergrad degree, going on to receive several more medals at four different Olympic games to become one of the greatest female athletes of all-time.

Apolo Anton Ohno
Emerging as a superstar Olympian in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Apolo Anton Ohno won his first gold medal that year at just 20 years old. Since then, he has received seven more medals to become the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time, while going on to earn a business degree.

Tags: Going Back to College , Majors and Degree Programs , Motivation

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5 Powerful Pearls of Wisdom From Our Students and Alumni for 2014

Posted Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Juggling family and career responsibilities can be quite the balancing act. Add in the pursuit of a degree and it may seem overwhelming. But it is possible. Looking back upon this past year, we’ve seen students overcome insurmountable odds and brave new challenges to fulfill their educational goals and dreams.

With every New Year come new resolutions and new ambitions, and our students offer some of the most encouraging and invaluable suggestions to usher in 2014 as the year of accomplishments. Here are powerful quotes from our awe-inspiring past, present and future graduates on motivation, leadership, passion and everything in between.

Your dreams don’t have a time limit.


Explore your options.


Stay motivated.


Learn what you love and pursue it with a passion.


Organization and time management are half the battle.

Tags: Alumni , Credit by Exam , Going Back to College , Motivation , Study Tips , Taking Courses , Work-Life Balance

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Why Every Gift Matters: Kristy Marchese’s Story

Posted Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Somewhere along the way, the giving season became a time of discounts, deals and savings. This year, let’s give bigger, better and smarter by giving back. Join us for a new national day of giving deemed #GivingTuesday on December 3rd, and show the world that when we unite together, we can fulfill dreams.

The following post is an excerpt from Thomas Edison State College Foundation’s article, “Meet Kristy Marchese, W. Cary Edwards Foundation Scholarship Recipient:

“The memories you create, good or bad, are the memories that make you the nurse you are and the person you become.”

When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow-up, their answer can range from astronaut to Spiderman. When Kristy Marchese was a child, her answer remained constant – she wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse. Then, at the young age of 14, Kristy tragically lost her mother to cervical cancer. It was at that point in her life that she realized her true calling was nursing.

When her mother passed away, Kristy took on the responsibilities of caring for her two younger sisters. She took on the role of a mother while her father often worked multiple jobs to provide for the family and pay the medical bills. Kristy’s teenage years passed not as one would imagine. Instead of going out with friends and worrying about boys, she spent her time cooking dinners, doing laundry and helping with homework. Kristy took on her mother’s role and lived by a unique motto “What would my mother do?” This motto inspired her to pursue her nursing degree and after graduating from high school, she worked and paid her way through college ultimately earning her BSN from Widener University.

Fresh out of college she applied to nursing positions at Cooper Health. During her first interview she met with the oncology nurse manager for a position in the same unit where her mother had passed away 10 years earlier. Her interview started as any interview would – the nurse manager asked her why she was interested in oncology. Kristy remembers this conversation like none other; she started to explain that her mother passed away from cervical cancer 10 years prior and as a young girl, Kristy was left to care for her two sisters. Before she could say more, her interviewer jumped out of her seat and started to cry. The nurse manager recognized Kristy and remembered her mother. Unbeknownst to Kristy…”

Read the rest of Kristy’s story in Thomas Edison State College Foundation’s original article. If you would like to help students on #GivingTuesday, like Kristy, fulfill their dreams, please donate to the Thomas Edison State College Foundation.


Tags: Alumni , Motivation , Nursing , Thomas Edison State College Foundation

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