De-stressing the Job Search with Digital Skills

As a current sophomore at Northwestern, I am quite empathetic toward the battalion of stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated job seeking college students. I certainly identify as one of that variety. Searching for an employment opportunity – whether it be a summer internship or a full time gig – is nothing short of emotionally taxing. Even filtering through advice is a process in itself. There comes a point where the existential question becomes: “Should I schedule yet another career advising appointment after modifying my resume’s margins?” 

Well, I’ll warn you in advance that the objective of this article is undoubtedly to offer advice, but don’t close the tab just yet because these tips aren’t just your run-of-the-mill, generalized pointers. In fact, they come from Diego Henriquez-Garcia, a Northwestern alum (and former Resident of The Garage!) who now works at LinkedIn Learning.

Before I give you the whole run down, here’s the general gist: digital skills are where it’s at. 

If you’re one of the majority, you’re probably panicking that the skills section of your resume is not quite up to par. While this is often a by-product of intellectual self-deprecation, choosing the “I want to learn more!” is almost never a bad idea. But, if you’ve passed this phase and are just simply stuck on which of the thousands of skills to learn, Diego and I certainly agree that the golden ticket option lies in the digital skills realm – data science, graphic design, technical support, recruiting, social media, and web development to name a few (data science is the number one in-demand skill for recent grads).

According to LinkedIn Learning, the 10 most in-demand jobs for recent college graduates are as follows:

  1. DevOps Engineer
  2. Java Software Engineer
  3. Senior Associate Auditor
  4. Full Stock Engineer
  5. Senior Auditor
  6. Senior Software Engineer
  7. Data Engineer
  8. Sales Development Representative
  9. Frontend Developer
  10. Machine Learning Engineer

You probably noticed right away that these jobs all require pretty specialized digital skills. In fact, seven out of 10 jobs held by recent graduates could be characterized as digital. Seeing this list in bulk is undoubtedly overwhelming, especially if you don’t identify as a “tech-y” person. However, the specificity of these jobs (for example, a Java Software Engineer focuses on a singular programming language) definitely works in a busy college student’s favor. 

So, if this article were to offer one piece of memorable advice to its readers, it’s this: pick just one digital skill to hone in on. Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day working on this new skill for 30 days. As Forbes’ Jeff Boss claims, “The appeal of 30 day challenges is they offer just enough time for a new goal to be palatable yet long enough to be challenging.” You will be so surprised by how much you will learn in such a short time span.

Here is more information on some super advantageous digital skills:

Social Media: Social media skills certainly apply to a greater breadth of responsibility than simply being adept at Instagram posting. In fact, learning the inner-workings of social media allows you to understand how a company connects with its clients and competitors and is the principal medium through which companies communicate today.

Data Science: According to Simplilearn, data scientists are incredibly valuable to businesses since they provide methods to recruit new employees, analyze trends to form goals, prioritize tasks, and improve current technology through new algorithms.

Digital Marketing: Lyfe Marketing reports that “In 2019, the average Internet user has at least seven social media accounts.” This statistic suggests a surge in time spent on digital platforms over the last few years. Furthermore, social media is infiltrated with advertising; new personalized ads pop up every day on Instagram and Facebook feeds, for example. This rapidly growing marketing sphere calls for slews of employees who can handle the fast-paced and ever-changing digital market.


Devon Spungin is an English Literature and Cognitive Science sophomore at Northwestern, and a non-tech aide at The Garage. She’s from Los Angeles, California.