According to an October 16 report from Project Information Literacy (PIL), a project concerned with the research habits of college students, employers want to hire graduates who can search online and in databases, but also seek information in print or from their colleagues if needed (8). Searching for and finding information is only half the equation. Employers also expect their employees to be able to extrapolate information and evaluate their findings.
Employers’ perceptions of recent college graduates are mostly positive. For example, one employer interviewed in PIL’s research said, “The contrast is so evident between us on one side and them on the other. They are connected in a way my generation wasn’t, which gives them all this solid background. There’s this whole vocabulary they come speaking, you say something to them, and they say, ‘Oh, yeah. I can do that.’ Information? They find it, they take it, and they blend it, they mash it, they repurpose it” (10). However, there are some skills that employers find new college graduates often lack:
- Engaging team members in the research process
- Retrieving information using a variety of formats
- Finding patterns and making connections
- Taking a deep dive into the information “reservoir” (12).
So, what can you do if you want to improve your information literacy skill set?
You could consider enrolling in COM 2012: Research Sources and Systems. This course offers opportunities to work with a variety of sources, to discover techniques for evaluating information, and to make connections between what you need and the appropriate information. You could view any of the Evans Library tutorials that are available on YouTube. You can ask a librarian for help with your research now. Chances are good that you will learn something new while accomplishing your research goals. Information literacy isn’t just for college; it’s for life.