Citizenship readiness involves preparing America’s students to contribute and succeed in our increasingly diverse and global society. It includes the development of character or soft skills such as responsibility, integrity and respect as well as important life skills such as appropriate and effective use of technology.
Soft skills are those character traits, interpersonal skills and social habits that characterize a person’s relationships with other people, and they are critical for personal and professional success. In fact, many of today’s employers emphasize that soft skills are just as important — if not more — as academic preparation and job-specific skills and training.
Soft Skills Most In Demand By Today’s Employers
Ability to organize thoughts and ideas effectively and express clearly and persuasively when speaking or writing
Positive, Professional Attitude
Displaying enthusiasm through words and actions; acting in a manner that is responsible, fair and respectful of others
Ability to work well with others in a professional manner to achieve a common goal
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Ability to evaluate a situation and effectively and accurately identify potential problems and solutions
Ability to prioritize tasks, use time wisely and work on a number of different projects at once
Willingness to persist in difficult tasks, working to overcome obstacles and produce results
Ability and Willingness to Learn
Willing and capable of learning new skills and techniques, seeking to improve personal and overall performance
Honest and respectful, upholding the company’s or institution’s image and values
Ability to recognize opportunities for growth as well as the need for change and then implement the steps necessary for achievement
Ability to design, plan and implement projects and tasks within an allotted timeframe
Skills to Pay the Bills
Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money, destroy your credit and ruin your good name.
Common Methods of Identity Theft
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information. Keep in mind that new methods and techniques are developed every day, especially online, so it is important that you always remain wary, vigilant and informed.
• Dumpster Diving. Thieves rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
• Skimming. Thieves steal credit/debit card numbers by using special devices when processing your card or even by using special scanners for cards with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Systems) technology.
• Phishing. Thieves pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
• Changing Your Address. Thieves divert your billing statements to another location by completing a “change of address” form.
• Old-Fashioned Stealing. Thieves steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; preapproved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers or bribe employees who have access.
• Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
• Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
• Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having work done in your house.
• Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know with whom you are dealing.
• Don’t respond to email, text or phone messages that ask for personal information. Legitimate companies don’t ask for information this way. Delete these messages.
• Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know.
• Use firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software to protect your computer, iPad and/or other devices and keep up to date. You should set your computer or device’s operating system, web browser and security system to update automatically and on a regular basis.
• Don’t use obvious passwords like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Create passwords that mix letters, numbers and special characters.
• If you shop or bank online, use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. An encrypted site has “https” at the beginning of the web address. The “s” is for secure.
• If you use a public wireless network, do not send information to any website that isn’t encrypted.
Be proactive to detect suspicious activity and possible identity theft.
Review your credit report periodically. You can request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit report companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To obtain your free credit report call 1-877-322-8228 or visit http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
Routinely monitor your financial accounts and billing statements. Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
• Bills that do not arrive as expected
• Unexpected credit cards or account statements
• Denials of credit for no apparent reason
• Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
If you suspect you are the victim of identity theft, you must take action immediately.
- Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to existing accounts.Each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert, but a call to one company is sufficient.Equifax
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your approval. Follow up in writing with copies of supporting documents.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
- Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
- Report theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.Identity Theft Clearing House
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC 20580
1-877-ID-THEFT or 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261
OnGuardOnline.gov is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. It includes great tips and resources on avoiding scams, securing your computer and wireless networks, protecting kids online and much, much more.
FTC.gov/idtheft also provides great information about how to prevent identity theft and what to do if you fall victim.
Tech in the Workplace
In every region and in every industry, widespread and increasing use of the Internet, computers and automated systems greatly impacts the way we do business. Daily advances in technology mean there are always new products and methods, new solutions and problems. Although you may already know how to and do use smart phones, apps, social media, iPads and other tablet devices, it is important for you to understand the role such technology can play in building your career.
Email has become an integral part of everyday lives. It is also a form of communication essential to most every industry and job. Appropriate and professional use of email can help you not only land a job, but also keep one. Learn more with these Email Etiquette Guidelines.
Voicemail and Ringtones
Make sure your outgoing voicemail message is professional while searching for a job. An employer does not want to hear a party in the background when he or she calls to leave a message.
Disable your “ringback” and use standard ringtones when searching for a job. A simple ring is more professional than your favorite song.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, MySpace. The odds are pretty good that you currently use one or more (or all) of these social networks to interact online with friends and other network members by sharing messages, posting photographs, etc. Nearly 70% of all online American adults ages 18 and above use one or more social networks regularly. We expect that number as well as social networking options to continue to grow.
A common trend for today’s employers is to seek out a candidate’s personal information on search engines such as Google as well as their social networking profile on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and more. You should be aware that what you do online now, including how and what you share on various social networks, can impact your future career path. As you work to become job ready and to join the workforce, consider these Social Networking Tips.