What Employers Want

February is Black History Month and throughout the 2018 Spring Semester we will celebrate things like Women’s History, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage, Jewish Americans, LGBTQ Pride and more. You might ask yourself, should I care? Should I get involved?  Well, simply put, yes! Demonstrating cultural competence matters to employers.

Companies are seeking hires that can relate effectively with people from varied backgrounds whether that’s a diverse cultural background or different ways of thinking about and approaching issues. They don’t want candidates that shy away from differences, but, instead, have open mindsets. Research shows that the more knowledge you have about people of different cultures and perspectives, the more likely you are able to be productive, excel in a team, and advance in your career.

In conjunction with the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), employers have identified seven key areas or “career competencies” that they desire from new college graduates, regardless of their degree or major. One of those competencies is Global/Intercultural Fluency which is defined as:

Global/Intercultural Fluency: Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates, openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.

So what can you do as an undergraduate to build this career competency?  The MU Division of Inclusivity, Diversity & Equity suggests 10 ways to expand your horizons.  Simply take some small steps to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone whether that’s trying a new ethnic cuisine, taking a study abroad trip, or meeting new people outside your circle of friends. It’s important because you will not only learn about others, but yourself, too.

In a competitive job market, it’s important to understand that companies are hiring students who are actively looking to challenge themselves and pursue diverse experiences.