Let’s face it: We now live in the twenty-first century and computers are here to stay. Most young people today have grown up in a computer-oriented world and therefore already have an advantage over older jobseekers who may still be a little wary of technology.

Almost every job today requires some familiarity with computer basics, so plan on investing in a good computer and software packages (such as Microsoft Office) that are commonly used in the business world. Sites such as www.academic-collegiate.comallow homeschoolers to purchase software at lower prices, a courtesy commonly offered to public schools. Courses in keyboarding and basic computer skills are available from a variety of sources ranging from computer software to online classes to local community colleges. Of course, actual practice is the best instructor, as most homeschooling families already realize. According to the TOS Magazine Reader Survey 2007,nearly all homeschool families own computers.5

Job applicants also should possess good computer skills. Today, most employers require individuals to apply first online, either through the Internet or through a company’s intranet computer. Many companies also make use of computerized tests and survey questions as a part of the online application process, so it is to the applicant’s advantage to gain experience with this type of test-taking format. Many of these tests focus on communication abilities, critical-thinking skills, and interpersonal relationships.

8. Work on social skills.

Many jobs today demand good customer service skills,and therefore the qualities of common courtesy and self-control are in high demand. Homeschooled students often excel in these areas because they tend to be able to adapt easily and successfully during interaction with a variety of age groups and are more comfortable in situations that involve adult interaction.6

Years ago, when I was traveling home from a homeschooling conference, I met a businessman on a plane. As we talked, I discovered that he was the CEO of a corporation that owned a group of nursing homes. Though he did not homeschool, he told me that he and his staff actively recruited homeschool teens to work for them because homeschoolers tended to interact better with the senior citizens and had more flexible schedules. Clearly, he had seen firsthand the advantages homeschooling gave to employees.

At the economic summit I attended, several of the prospective employers also mentioned social networking media skills as a huge plus. Some prospective employers now request that you send them links to personal websites or social networking accounts such as Facebook. However, these links can function as a two-edged sword: Their use indicates that you have computer savvy and great social media skills; however, they also reveal a great deal of information about your life and personality. Make sure that these sites don’t contain elements that would harm your reputation or reflect a negative attitude toward authority—good advice in any case.

9. Enhance your resumé.

Even before young people begin the job hunt, they can begin to find ways to enhance their resumés. Many employers now want resumés that focus on acquired skills, rather than mere experience. Keep track of your volunteer work and entry-level jobs, and document the skills that you have learned. For instance, you could increase your audiovisual, computer, or child care skills by volunteering at your church. You could improve your social skills by volunteering at a hospital or nursing home. Or you could learn organizational skills by helping to set up events for your homeschool group.

A listing of classes you’ve taken at your local community college can enhance your resumé too. Even courses such as CPR training, auto repair, sewing, or child care add to your skill set and indicate a desire to learn. Of course, computer and keyboarding classes are particularly valuable.