Last weekend, I started a conversation with my freshman son about what he might want to do after high school. I remember my dad gave me a college and university guide when I graduated from sixth grade, and by the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was filling out forms and calling schools to get info packets, eager to begin that new phase of my life. For my son, the conversation was terrifying, and he quickly changed the subject.
Between the COVID pandemic and a fair amount of uncertainty about what the job market will look like and where the economy will be when they graduate, students right now are faced with a lot of challenges that are completely new territory. Even for me, graduating from high school in 2000, the future seemed so full of unknown potential advancements, but now the workforce is rapidly changing to companies offering full work from home, hybrid, and even remote training environments.
For a high school kid, I’m sure not knowing what they want to do or how they will fit into that workforce is intimidating. Some colleges and universities are reporting a decrease in the number of applications they are receiving as students explore alternative options towards a career path.
Microsoft recently announced a new tool that I really wished I had had as a college student called Career Coach. It works in conjunction with Microsoft Teams—which just keeps getting more and more impressive as it develops—to try to help students identify their career goals, find opportunities to develop relevant skills, and connect to people who can help them along the way, such as alumni, faculty, and peers.
Career Coach works best with a LinkedIn Learning subscription but also helps by providing a searchable interface so students can explore careers based on their skills, strengths, and interests. Students can utilize the tool to discover what skills they have, which skills they need, and what the job market looks like for their chosen profession. They can then get in touch with alumni in those fields to get real guidance while they move through their higher education. Students will be able to find volunteer opportunities, internships, and co-ops that fall into their fields of study as well as receive updates on advisor appointments, notifications about career fairs and the options to connect with potential employers.
They can build a real-world skill set by searching the repository of courses available at their institution, in Microsoft Learn, available Microsoft certifications, Microsoft 365 training, and LinkedIn Learning if they have a subscription. Developing these skills can provide a stronger foundation and give students an edge on entering the workforce as well-rounded applicants who will become a true asset to the companies that hire them.
The prerequisites for Career Coach are an Office 365 Education tenant with Azure Active Directory, a subscription that includes Microsoft Teams, and LinkedIn connections in Azure Active Directory. To get Career Coach, you can purchase the add-on SKU through Connection on either Microsoft’s CSP or EES agreements.
To learn more about Career Coach, please reach out to your Connection Account Manager today.