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Discern To Learn

  • Writer's pictureTheresa Peters

Top 6 Skills Grads Need To Succeed

Employers speak in a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) study.

We all want our young adults to succeed in life and we cannot afford to wait until they are adults to teach these important skills.

A recent NACE report identifies that employers are disappointed with the employees they have hired in recent years. There are 8 competencies they pinpoint as crucial for career readiness, but given the overlap of many, there are 6 areas that cover the full spectrum.

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Ability with Current Tech

Young people need to be able to use technology. This seems like a nonsensical thing to say, but it seems that young people are becoming very adept at social media, but are not equipped with typing skills, more advanced word processing, and applications for data management.

Teens need to adapt to many platforms and applications and be able to learn quickly and be willing to embrace new ways of doing things.


-expose your teen to advanced spreadsheets and a wide range of computer applications

-do not model a fear of technology, but embrace it for what it is: a tool

Teamwork Leadership

Team-based leadership has become the model of the marketplace. The opportunity to learn leadership skills in a team environment is vital for life success.

Teens need to have a confident, positive attitude and be able to manage a project start to finish. They need to be willing to encourage others and build trust as well as envision, create a plan, advocate for that plan, persuade others to be involved, and complete and evaluate projects.


-expect your teen to take leadership roles

-model humble and encouraging team leadership skills in your home

-find opportunities for mentoring for your teen in sport or church


Is your student struggling to stay on track independently and finish work on time? These are the professional skills they need.

Students must learn to be dependable, consistent, self-motivated, and self-disciplined. They must be able to pay attention to detail and be motivated to excel. This will translate into an attention to detail.

As individuals, they should portray a positive personal image that the organization is proud to reflect.


-give responsibility to your teen - allow them to learn by failing

-model self-discipline and time management in your home

-give firm deadlines for assignments and expect them to finish on time without pressure from you to work


NACE calls this career development skills, but in your teen, it begins with self-development skills.

This is all about a growth mindset and personal drive to better themselves. Teens need to learn to be self-aware; become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and set goals for personal growth. To do this they will need to set goals, make a plan for achieving those goals, have personal accountability or mentors, and continue past failings to reach that goal. They need to be looking for growth opportunities and see the struggle as an opportunity to develop their skills.


-provide opportunity for your teen to set their own goals, teach them to make a plan and to evaluate and replan on a regular schedule

-train and model a growth mindset in your home - see struggles as opportunities

-seek accountability and mentoring for your teen

Communication Skills

Despite living in an age of instant and copious communication, our teens lack communication skills. They need to be willing to listen actively - seeking to understand and respect others' views and be able to give their opinions or perspectives clearly and logically with facts that will prove their point.

The skills of persuasion and influencing others are highly sought and they take a lot of practice to acquire. Waiting until late teens to begin this is a mistake many homeschoolers make.


-train students to listen actively and engage in conversations with others that think differently from them

-model understanding and persuasive communication in your home

Critical Thinking with Compassion

The foundational skill for communication is critical thinking: without critical thinking, young people will not be able to communicate persuasively.

Critical thinking is a vast well of its own skills encompassing research (choosing wide-ranging reliable sources to understand all sides of an issue), accurate and effective notes, and data organization.

Students need to learn to anticipate barriers, risks, or concerns that may arise and take action steps to avoid negative outcomes. They especially must be able to consider the emotional repercussions of an action in a cultural setting which requires empathy and compassion. Forward-thinking will solve problems and make decisions with sound logic and judgment hand in hand with love.


-allow students to experience negative outcomes so they can begin to see the need to prepare for them

-model empathy and compassion in conversations and ask questions like, "how is the other person experiencing this?"

-train your student to research, and write with a view to see all sides of an issue, while persuading the reader (respectfully) that their view is well supported

How is Your Teen Doing?

  • Are they struggling with day-to-day self-management? (getting their tasks finished without you nagging them)

  • Are you feeling frustrated by constantly needing to remind them?

  • Are they struggling to write persuasive paragraphs by high school and you just don't know what else to do?

Go ahead - check out Discern To Learn!

(just hit the Home button on the menu bar!)

We come alongside students, help them to imagine success, and create a plan to work on the skills needed to get there (this motivates them to care about language arts because they see that it matters in their life.)

With feedback and support every step of the way - you can be hands-off, which is exactly what your teen is fighting for, and they learn to be self-motivated and self-disciplined on their journey to becoming critical thinkers and persuasive writers and speakers!

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