Despite being labeled ‘digital natives’, most students today lack the ability to transfer the knowledge and technological skills they have to practical tasks like finding a job. This is why it is important for teachers to teach digital literacy, particularly as it applies to students’ academic and professional lives.

1. Fostering Digital Literacy Early

Basic tech literacy skills are newcomers to school curriculums, which means parents may not know how to help their children acquire necessary tech skills at home. This is why it is important to start to integrate these skills into the curriculum early.

By teaching these basic skills, teachers will be able to foster an attitude conducive to lifelong learning, which is one that is definitely needed in today’s ever-changing job market. Showing students that it is necessary to continue learning about technology will serve them well as they start their careers.

2. Evaluating Information

In a world where anyone can create their own content and publish it on the web, evaluating information has become an essential digital literacy skill. One practical use of this skill when looking for a job is doing basic research on the industry in which you are interested in working. Using digital tools like keywords and advanced search features combined with the ability to differentiate between credible and non-credible sources will make the search more efficient and effective.

3. Personal Archiving

Once a student or job seeker has found relevant information related to the industry or career she wants to go into, it will be necessary to do some archiving of that information to be able to access it easily later. Personal archiving involved concepts like metadata, tagging, keywords, and concepts, and helps make sense of our large digital footprints. In order to use this later for job seeking, students first need to practice using it in an academic setting.

4. Social Media Skills

Being given the opportunity to practice social media skills will help students in all areas of their lives as social media continues to touch everything we touch. For job seekers, in particular, using social media appropriately can help on two fronts.

The first is using social media to create your own brand. The current generation of students is hyper-aware of the concept of branding via social media, but they probably have not given much thought to how branding may come into play when they want to search for a job. Students need to know that employers will take a look at their social media profiles, which means they will need to give their social media profiles a professional makeover before they begin to search for a job. This can include getting rid of inappropriate content as well as publishing content that plays up skills and interests.

The other way in which students need to learn social media when it comes to getting a job is using it to research prospective employers. Keeping up-to-date on companies’ social media behavior will help students to spot opportunities and to be more knowledgeable about the company, which will come in handy at job interviews. Also, social media gives job seekers the opportunity to interact with companies, so students must be taught how to do this appropriately.

It is not enough to assume that because our students are whizzes at Snapchat or Instagram that they will have no problem transferring those skills to all areas of their lives. Digital literacy must be integrated into all areas of the curriculum to ensure that students have those skills later in life.

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