Employers talk skills development

Photo courtesy of Century College
Mike Bromelkamp, left, of Olsen Thielen Certified Public Accountants & Consultants, makes a point during a Nov. 7 panel discussion about job skills development at Century College in White Bear Lake. Listening to Bromelkamp are fellow panelists Kimberly Crean of Cummins Power, Mark Fleischhacker of Lake Region Medical and Andrea Mowery of ClearWay Minnesota.

WHITE BEAR LAKE — A job candidate’s most important skill is their ability to communicate, four area employers from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce told Century College students during a Nov. 7 panel discussion at the school.

“The ability to communicate with your fellow human beings by writing, listening and conveying thoughts and ideas is the most important skill you can have,” said Mike Bromelkamp of Olsen Thielen Certified Public Accountants & Consultants. “A 4.0 grade point average is secondary. We need people with skills who can communicate.”

Andrea Mowery of ClearWay Minnesota, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing tobacco use, said job seekers must be able to grasp and simplify complex ideas. She added that correct spelling on resumes and applications is also important.

Mark Fleischhacker of Lake Region Medical, a medical device and component maker, said employers need people who can write clear and complete sentences. Cryptic writing like that used in text messages is not acceptable in the workplace, he added.

Fleischhacker urged Century students to consider jobs in manufacturing.

“There are great career paths in manufacturing,” he said. “It is a myth that these jobs are dirty and in a bad atmosphere. In my plant, you can practically eat off the floor, it is so spotless.”

Kimberly Crean of Cummins Power, an engine and power generation systems maker, told students to tailor their resumes to the jobs they are applying for.

“Do not send the same resume to every job you apply for,” she said. “Make it clear how your life experience and what you are currently doing relates to the position you are seeking.”

Bromelkamp advised students to network, join professional organizations and volunteer.

“You have to develop relationships,” he said. “You have to make yourself stand out.”

“Be proud of who you are and what you are learning,” said Fleischhacker.

The event was presented by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by a grant from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce. Carrie Hageman of Century’s Career Services coordinated the event.