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Employers want graduates who have the skills & competencies that prepare them for work in the digital world

Develop your digital literacy and you will have the skills and competencies to succeed in the job-hunting process and workplace.

Employers agree that a positive attitude sets graduates apart. Getting to grips with technology requires a positive attitude and the motivation to find out what is possible and explore how they work.

You are in the right place to find out more about digital literacy, and now you are here make the most of these hints, tips and resources to improve your skills and opportunities!

What does digital literacy mean to me?

It’s the way of the world – you need to be digitally literate

A recent CBI report estimated that 90% of UK jobs require some level of IT competency. “Students… must take the development of their wider competencies as seriously as they take their studies.” Richard Lambert, Director-general CBI

Candidates who are able to demonstrate their digital literacy will be far more employable than those who can’t.

Smart phones, computers and the web are commonplace in study, work and play; offering the chance to think and do things differently. Whilst providing new opportunities to learn, work and thrive in a digital world. What’s more digital tools can help you to achieve your goals and make life easier – if you know how.

Develop your digital literacy and you’ll increase your employability

Focus on equipping yourself with the technical knowledge and experience employers’ value. New technologies are emerging all the time, take the initiative to explore, experiment and share your use with others at university in your studies, social life and at work. For example:

  •      Microsoft Office suite – Word processing, Presentations, Spreadsheets
  •      Internet & Email
  •      Social Media – Facebook, Twitter
  •      Document sharing – DropBox, Google Drive
  •      Blogging – WordPress

Use the technology to showcase and evidence your abilities, experience and knowledge to prospective employers. Start doing this now!

It focuses you – decide what you want to achieve and why, then concentrate your efforts

There’s too much information out there, far too many tools, and far too many people you could connect with; think about what you want to achieve and why. You’re in control – use the digital tools to manage your time, tasks and knowledge.
For example:

  • Set up and configure your computer and phone to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the world and easily communicate and inform others. Technology to consider: University wi fi? Learning central? Rss feeds
  •  Use task management tools and adopt practices to help prioritise and allocate your attention and effort. Make it a habit!Technology to consider: Calendar? Learning central?

You can use technology to help you achieve your goals

Get to grips with the basics - Computing devices, software applications and getting online are basic things you need to know how to use. Take time to investigate how to set up and configure your phone, tablet device and laptop computer.
For example:

  • It’s very important you understand how to keep your applications up-to-date, ensure your devices are secure and that you are able to control and manage access and privacy settings. An employer will want to be confident that you’ll make every effort to protect their intellectual property and safeguard corporate information.  Technology & support to consider:  University INSRV? McAfee?

The essence of academic study is the development of core thinking skills – comprehending, problem solving, critical appraisal, evaluation and synthesising data and information. Digital literacy depends on the application and refinement of these core academic skills. In order to use technology to achieve your goal, you must engage your critical mind and continually improve these abilities. Digital tools can be used to help you achieve this.
For example:

  • Work on your core thinking skills, such as mind-mapping and concept-mapping, decision-support tools, and data/information mapping and analysis applications.  Technology to consider:

How can I make myself digitally literate, quickly and easily?

Take control of your digital self and set yourself apart from other graduates

It’s vital that you take control of your digital profile and manage your digital identity carefully for your safety and to create the best impression of you for all who will see it. Remember, employers search the Internet!

  • Do a search to see what’s already online about you. Are you happy with what’s there? What would a prospective employer think? What can you do to improve the impression given of you? Take control now and create a digital presence that says all the right things about you and is up to date.

When an employer searches for you they will be pushed for time. Make sure the links between what’s in your CV and what you’ve published online are clear and obvious. For example:

  • Create a personal blog or social web site that pulls all your digital threads together to connect everything that you’ve created and done. Think about creating a brief overview or guided tour with something like a web trail, narrated presentation or video. Make it high impact and tell a story that sets you apart from other graduates.Technology to consider:

Blogging from a distinctively designed website with a personalised web address sends out a powerful message. It says you take initiative; you’re creative and comfortable working in an online world.

Employers want to see that you are excited by ideas and capable of challenging assumptions. Provide examples of your ability to analyse critically and solve problems. Explore topics, current issues, problems and challenges that you know will be of interest to your target employer. It doesn’t have to be too long or detailed, just relevant and contain something of yourself in what you write.

Develop your social awareness, sensitivity and sense of responsibility

As well as developing an understanding of how to use digital tools, digital literacy is about acting ethically and considering the effect that your actions have on others. It’s important to understand that we are all members of, and participate in, multiple groups and communities where people have different ways of thinking and relating to each other. Consider copyright, controlling access rights and online etiquette. For example:

  • Know when and how to use language appropriately, observing the rules, policies and guidelines of groups and organisations you are a part of.
  • Awareness and understanding of privacy, security and legal issues around the creation, distribution and use of information and different kinds of media.

Learn how to quickly locate and obtain information using digital tools

In our increasingly overloaded world of information, knowing where and how to look for content, tools and people is a powerful asset. For example:

  • Take every opportunity to understand how to use different kinds of search engine, information archives and content repositories.
  • Know about file formats and document types so that you can be sure of acquiring content that’s in a usable form.
  • Engage your core thinking skills and develop your ability to ask relevant questions of what you find to be sure that you’re identifying valid and reputable sources of data/information.Technology & support to consider: University INSRV? Libraries?

Employers want staff who are proactive and able to keep themselves and others informed and up to date. Employees who know about and can access key information sources a company relies on – make sure you find out what these are!
Searches can help with your job-hunting. For example

  • Make sure you register your interest on any mailing lists.
  • Sign-up to any RSS feeds from job web sites and employers – make sure they alert you on your different devices.
  • Search the Internet to find out about the industry, its business and the latest news relating to the company you are applying to.

Manage your data and information using digital tools

Manage and organise different kinds of data and information in a systematic and consistent way, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your work and other. Learn how to use technology to store, structure, organise, manage and maintain different kinds of content. For example:

  • Name and organise documents and files in hierarchical directories.
  • Record and share web bookmarks, know where and how to store photos, videos and audio files online.
  • Design and create databases and spreadsheets to store numerical and textual data.
  • Create wikis to store and manage complex and mixed media.
  • Build simple content management website to act as a document repository.

Technology to consider: DropBox, Google Drive Delicious and Diigo Flickr, YouTube, iTunes, ZoHo Creator, Google Spreadsheets TiidlyWiki, Google Sites, WordPress and SimpleCMS.

With all of the above it’s important to learn what’s required to facilitate and control access, privacy, security and to ensure whatever you use is reliable so that people can depend on it being available and re-purposable. Understand what metadata is and how to use it to good effect to help search and manage content. Make the effort to understand the significance of different file formats and types of digital media and how this impact on use – knowing why and how to convert between them can be a very useful.

Use digital tools to showcase your knowledge skills and abilities

There’s a wide variety of ways to express yourself through technology. It’s also an opportunity to be creative and innovative with how you get your message across. For example:

  • Demonstrate how versatile your skills are by exploiting different media and ways of publishing.
  • Experiment and showcase your creativity through designing and producing different kinds of digital media.

Technology to consider:

  • Presentations – PowerPoint Prezi, Flickr Slideshow
  • Videos and podcasts – MS Movie Maker and Audacity. Embed what you produce in your website, blog or publish to YouTube and Vimeo.
  • Blog or website

There are many different reasons why it’s a good idea to write and create digital media. For example:

  • You challenge yourself to think more deeply about what it is you want to say and how you can best express your thoughts so your ideas are understood.
  • You actively engage higher order thinking, such as critical evaluation and reflection whilst informing and educating others.
  • You showcase yourself, what you’re all about whilst getting useful feedback and questions in the process.
  • People can add comments and ask questions in advance of meeting you.

Develop your writing skills – express yourself

Writing is an important learning activity that forces us to engage core thinking skills. However, there are others tools for informing and communicating, such as creating a presentation, podcast, video or multimedia resource. For example:

  • Blogging and wikis can help you shape your message, engage with an audience and receive useful feedback.
  • Twitter, Facebook and discussion spaces allow you to seek out new audiences and contribute to conversations.

By commenting and feeding back on what other people have written or produced it is possible to get noticed and gain their interest, help and expertise for your own work. Knowing how to exploit technology to make this happen will result in new opportunities for you, the people you connect with, and the business you work for.

Effective ways to publish disseminate and share your data and information

Making the data/information you gather and produce available to others is a key aspect of digital literacy. Develop an understanding of what are the most effective ways of making the outputs of your work available to your colleagues and partners so that it is easy for them to find and use. For example:
Wikis and blogs are effective ways to make all kinds of content available.
Share photos and images using Flickr, Facebook, and Google+.
Slides and presentations are shared through services like Slideshare and Slideboom.
Documents can be stored and shared through DropBox, SugardSync and Google Docs.
Audio and podcasts can be made available through SoundCloud, iTunes and Podomatic.

It can be difficult during your studies to be proactive about sharing and making the products of your hard work available to others, but these are the kinds of approaches and skills that are in high demand by employers. In a highly competitive world, it takes courage to cultivate an attitude that is open and supportive, but doing so will serve you well in securing the respect and admiration of your colleagues.

Manipulate data and information using digital tools

You should be able to work with different kinds of data and information in flexible and creative ways. Digital literacy is having the knowledge and skills to understand how to apply these tools appropriately to produce results that are meaningful and have value.
For example:

  • Develop the ability to gather, store and manage content, using digital tools to manipulate and transform different kinds of media; such as working with a spreadsheet or database, using statistical analysis software and using pattern recognition tools.
  • Understand how technology can make work easier by reducing the labour intensive parts whilst allowing new ways of configuring and looking at data to reveal something new.

Connect with others to enhance your interactions and communications

Technology presents us with a world of opportunity to connect with others. Mobile phones, computers and the web present new opportunities to express ourselves and use our language, social and communication skills online; as well as the tools to demonstrate your on-line social and inter-personal skills. For example:

  • Connecting and networking with others online. Showing that you’re proactive and forward thinking.
  • Seeking people out and participating in discussions.
  • Contributing your thoughts and ideas to their online work to show that you’re able to respond in a considered and articulate manner.
  • Using technology to connect, network and form mutually beneficial relationships with others.
  • Exploiting tools and services for disseminating and publishing.
  • Using social networking sites and communication services to share and collaborate with others.
  • Demonstrating that you can use these tools to participate and contribute to teams and lead projects where many people are involved.

Social messaging, through sites like Facebook and Twitter, can reveal more about you, what you think is important, how you respond to issues. More of your personality can come across. This is precisely what is missing from your application and CV and can be a two-edged sword working either for or against you. Employers have been known to look applicants up on Facebook when deciding whom to interview. What would they learn about you from your Facebook page?

Use digital tools to collaborate and work in teams

When working or learning with someone else, it’s essential to have an agreed way of keeping each other informed and for sharing what’s gathered and produced.

Working constructively with others requires a strong sense of responsibility; social awareness and inter-personal skills, so it’s important that you’re conscientious and proactive about ensuring people are kept up to date and involved.

Agreement on the tools and services that will be used for talking, video-conferencing, messaging and keep each other informed.

It’s the openness and transparency of communication that’s important in enabling all team members to play their part and are in high demand by employers.

A whole variety of social and collaborative work environments have evolved in an attempt to bring all that’s required under one roof. The familiar social platforms such as Facebook and Google+ and internal to Cardiff University; Learning Central and Connections, all provide a suit of tools to support group working. However, it’s worthwhile remembering that if communication is working well, collaboration and team working can happen through the use of separate distinct technologies, as opposed to a suite of tools. There are numerous specialist project focused environments such as Freedcamp and Podio, and internally Teamplace, which promote the development of more advanced collaborative working skills concerning task and project management. Which again are highly prized by businesses where there is project based work.