By Bill Vicary, Founder/President, Vicary Management Group, Life Skills U
Traditionally life skills, also called soft skills or people skills, are taught by parents and grandparents. Because of a shift in our American culture, in many cases these skills are not being taught in school or learned at home effectively. Therefore, there is a “needs gap” for today’s youth and adults to learn and understand the importance of life skills, especially as it relates to their career.
Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center, has concluded that 85 percent of job success comes from having well developed life skills. Therefore, only 15 percent of job success comes from technical knowledge (hard skills).
In another study by the Wall Street Journal, they surveyed 900 business executives, 93 percent said that character skills were as important as or more important than technical skills, and 89 percent reported difficulties in finding employees with these abilities. In a recent Zogby poll, it reveals that 64 percent of business leaders know someone who’s lost a promotion or job due to poor “social emotional skills”.
Mauldin United Methodist Church, Kayla Alewine, director youth ministry and Bill Vicary have teamed together to develop a life skills and job program for students in the Upstate. They recently hosted their annual program where more than 100 students and parents attended from various middle and high schools in our area. Students came from as far away as Clinton and Powdersville as well as several Greenville-area schools who represented private, public and homeschool programs.
Kayla and Bill saw a need for improving life skills and wanted to teach students how to apply these skills in landing a job. In many cases this is the first time students have been introduced to these skills, so they created this community outreach ministry at Mauldin United Methodist Church. This is an annual, free program to teach these skills and also introduce students to a supportive youth community that seeks to help students grow and live in Christ and love all people.
The need to learn life skills and how it applies to one’s career goes beyond what can be taught in an annual program. Therefore, Bill has developed a more in-depth program for high school and college students.
The following is a summary of the 2½-hour Youth Life Skills and Job Program. You will learn life skills as a foundation to how to look for a job in our program:
1. Why are life skills important?
2. The importance of first impressions
3. Creating your personal brand
4. How to shake hands and introduce yourself properly
5. Dress for success
6. The importance of your digital footprint
7. Making good choices
How to get a job
1. Where to look for a job
2. What do employers look for in candidates
3. Create a job search plan
4. Do your homework
5. How to fill out an application
6. How to prepare for a job interview (before, during, follow-up)
7. Parent role in your job search
8. Getting the job
Local Company Participation
Recently Chick-fil-A, Cook Out, Frankie’s Fun Park, Gravitopia, Greenville Recreation, Jimmy John’s, Publix, and Spinx participated in our annual youth job program. The program provided an opportunity to meet and listen to these local companies that are hiring students and adults. They gave students advice, guidance and information on the following:
1. Expectations for finding and working at a job
2. Dos and don’ts in your job search
3. Potential for growth
4. Making it a job or a career
5. Potential opportunity for interviews
Whether you are 16 and just starting out in life with your first job or 60 in a well-established career, life skills is the foundation for success. As the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know” is true. So if you don’t know these skills or need to brush up on these skills, it’s never too late to start. Get started today!