As employers consider the candidates in their hiring pools, they certainly look for people who have key job-related skills, as well as proficiency with technologies associated with the role. But beyond that, they also seek individuals who can communicate clearly and think critically and creatively. For this reason, the information literacy skills that students learn in college play a central role in their ability to enter their chosen career and succeed in their roles.

In 100% Information Literacy Success, Third Edition, author Gwenn Wilson, MA, lists six important advantages that information-literate individuals possess. As you cover information literacy-related topics in your course, you may wish to reinforce these advantages with your students:

  • Learners sharpen their critical and creative thinking skills.
  • Learners develop higher-order thinking skills essential for excellence in school and the workplace.
  • Students develop a deeper and more applicable understanding od the content they are learning and become better prepared for their jobs.
  • Individuals are able to communicate in knowledgeable, logical, and defensible ways regarding their work.
  • Learners’ ability to effectively participate in problem solving and decision making is enhanced.
  • Professionals are able to keep up with advancements in their field of study, making them more competent and valuable as employees. (Wilson, 8)

Throughout the book, Wilson also prompts students to consider how information literacy skills they’re acquiring will apply in their future workplaces. Below, we’ve included just a few of these insightful questions; you may wish to discuss these topics with your students as well.

  • Reflect on your area of study and the job-related tasks in your current or future career. What sources and information will you have to be able to locate, access, retrieve, and use information? List 
  • as many different areas and types of information as you can. Expand this list as you think of additional types of information and sources.
  • How do you think you might be asked to communicate new information in your workplace? List as many different ways or formats as you can. Be specific.
  • Imagine yourself in the role of manager or owner of a company, organization, or facility similar to the kind in which you want to work during your career. Relative to information literacy, what information skills would you want your new employees to have? Why? As the owner/manager, how would you be at a disadvantage if your employees were information-illiterate? (Think about this question as you compare your facility to a competing facility with highly skilled employees in information areas.) (Wilson, 24)

Reference: Wilson, Gwenn. 2015. 100% Information Literacy Success, 3rd ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

© 2015 Cengage Learning.

How do you incorporate information-literacy topics and skills into your course? How do you connect them to the skills students will need in their careers? Share  your insights in the comments.