August 2016

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

(Click Message to Learn More)

Problem Solving Skills = You’re hired

The number one skill that you should be able to demonstrate to an employer is problem solving.

Manny Mandrusiak

Manny Mandrusiak,
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

New Products
Secured by Cimetrics
Site Search
Control Solutions, Inc
Past Issues
Securing Buildings News

When you work in the training and educational field, you get asked a lot what the most marketable skills are that people need to have to secure a good career.  Obviously when asked this question people assume that I am going to tell them that Microsoft training is the way to go, and they would be wrong.  Sure having the skills to effectively use the Microsoft Office Applications are essential, but they can be learned after you’ve secured employment.

If you have watched any news cast in the UK, North America, or Australia that has done any segments on education and training, then you’d think that the answer might be Learn to Code.  You’d be getting warmer, but still not correct.  While learning coding skills does make an individual more marketable and more desirable to employers, it is still not what I consider to be the most marketable skill to have when seeking employment.

The number one skill that you should be able to demonstrate to an employer is problem solving.  Why problem solving?  I’m glad that you asked that question.  In today’s society we leverage technology to make life easier; we have advanced education systems to provide our youth degrees in subjects where the jobs no longer exist.  We are creating a situation for our youth (job seekers) where they don’t have to solve problems because simply replacing something that breaks is cheaper and easier than fixing it. 

We have embraced political correctness way too far and created a false reality in our schools where the spirit of competition is replaced with the spirit of participation. As a society the baby boomers and Generation Xers have tried to make life as easy for their kids as possible and over protect them in a lot of respects.  What this has done is created a generation of extremely intelligent people who have limited life skills and problem solving abilities.  They essentially have all this theoretical knowledge in their heads, and confuse having knowledge with the ability to execute ideas and actually solve problems in real-time. 

I love the television show “The Big Bang Theory”.  Super intelligent individuals with limited social and life skills.  There was an episode where the boys were travelling to a bully’s house to confront him because he hacked Sheldon’s World of Warcraft account and stolen all of his character’s gold and awards.  The boys are driving home when the car that they are in starts making odd sounds and smoke pours from the hood.  They all turn to look at each other and Lenard asks “Does anyone know anything about internal combustion engines”? The boys all look at each other and answer that they all know a lot about internal combustion engines.  The Lenard asks “Does anyone actually know how to fix an internal combustion engine”?  There is a slight pause and then the group answer is no, “We better call someone for help”. To me that is a fantastic example of the lack of problem solving skills with today’s youth.

I recently had a coffee with a friend of mine who works with people who are out of work and looking for their next opportunity and he completely agrees with the lack of life skills and problem solving in today’s youth.  He told me about a young man who came to see him who was around 25 and had a BA Business Administration.  He was out of work, having got laid off at his previous job, and wanted to start a career in the field of Project Management.

My friend thought that this was a fantastic idea as there are many excellent paying careers as a project manager and he started looking at his resume.  He noted that the young man actually had no experience in project management, nor had he ever had any project management training.  My friend was a little confused so he asked the young man why he listed that he had a Masters in Project Management listed on his resume.

contemporary The young man stated that he indeed did master project management.  He had read a book over a weekend- all twelve chapters.  He felt that he had mastered the theoretical concepts of project management; and therefore, did actually have a Masters in Project Management. 

My friend was completely stunned, and then he realized that this young man was completely serious.  My friend explained to him that it takes way more than just theoretical study to make a good project manager.  It takes practical experience working as part of a team on projects learning to apply the theories learned so that he could solve problems as they came up and keep projects on track so that they can be completed on time and hopefully under budget.

Now the young man was stunned and he told my friend that he was wrong.  He told him that he had the ability to master video games very quickly by playing them all weekend and completing them.  Once he beat the game he had mastered it, and using that logic, having read the book he had mastered project management.

Youth today in North America lead a pretty privileged life, and if they can demonstrate the ability to effectively solve problems that a potential employer might face, they stand a great chance of landing a good career.  At the interview they need to be able to answer the question “What was a difficult situation at work that you encountered and overcame”?

Earlier in this article I mentioned learning to write code as being a fairly close answer to the most marketable skill that a young person could possess and it was not so much knowing how to write code in a specific language that made it valuable.  It was that in learning to write code individuals use logic and problem solving skills.  They build code stacks that break when they add new elements, and then have to fix them.  That’s problem solving and if an individual can demonstrate that skill to an employer it doubles their chance for getting the job. 
When employers put out job postings it is because they have a problem that they are trying to fix.  The company is growing and they need more staff, or someone left the company and they need a new person to fill the gap so the rest of the team does not work so hard.  They have a headache.  If a person applying for that job can demonstrate the ability to solve that problem, then they become “Tylenol” for the employer and get hired.


[Click Banner To Learn More]

[Home Page]  [The Automator]  [About]  [Subscribe ]  [Contact Us]


Want Ads

Our Sponsors