You wish your parents are so connected they could get you a job in a jiffy. Yes, many graduates sit at home hoping their parents will get them the job.
In today's world, it is not easy. You are competing with many others to get the job. Unless you stand out, employers will not even give you a second look.
I knew of a young graduate who started selling bank credit cards which he found so boring but it was in one of his sales pitch that his current employer noticed him. This employer was filling up his car with gas, his pregnant wife waiting in the car and this new graduate started his pitch.
The employer was far from interested. He has a basket of credit cards already in his possession. He didn't need one but this new graduate engaged him so well that he ended up giving him his business card and told him to see him.
So, how do you stand out so employers notice you? Here are 5 ways:
1. Know what employers look for. Each employer is different. He is looking for certain fir to what he has going right now. This is where your emotional intelligence will make a difference. Do you have this? If not, time to put aside that smart phone and make yourself smart. Look at people who have much of this and find out the attributes they have developed in themselves. Practice this until you feel you have the attributes yourself.
2. Be clear about the skills you have. If they are not up to a point to make you stand out in a skills competition, hone these. There are many courses online and most of these are free.
3. What about your communication skills? Do you find yourself whining most of the time? Cut it out. Again, practice. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror and see how you communicate. You can video yourself so you see better how you go about talking to other people, how you ask questions, how you negotiate, how you connect with people in gatherings. Or, ask people close to you who are willing to give you feedback. Honest feedback. Change whatever is offensive to people. When you hear yourself putting down other people, saying negative things to discourage others or to put them down or you hear yourself complaining, sneering at what others say, take note and change your patterns of conversation, discussion, participation. Remember, people like being around with those who make them feel good about themselves. Simple!
4. Do you take the initiative to solve problems or do you ignore the problem and leave it to others to find the solution or to take action. It is in simple things. When something needs tone done in your place, do you take the initiative to do it or have it resolved? Do you find solutions when there is a problem or do you leave that to others? Yes, taking the lead is important for employers. They need problem solvers not those who give them more problems or bring every problem to the Boss. Work on your leadership skills and your problem solving capacity.
5. Do you know how to fit in? Or, do you take every step to make people feel you are different or you have special needs or you don't really like anything they have? Do you try to taste food they share with you? Do you sit and hang out with them? Or, do you keep to yourself and not join in? You do stand out this way, as well but that kind is not what employers would want in his/her team.
Don't wait until graduation to do these things. Develop your leadership skills, interpersonal and communication skills, your problem solving capacity and you'll stand out when the time comes to look for a job. Remember, 10000 hours.
As we look around, there is a scramble by most governments in developing countries to put investments in skills development/TVET institutions having realized that the only way their country can attract new investments, expand existing industry and be competitive in the global market is by up-skilling their work force.
These investments are tackling several areas and work is hectic to improve not just the building and equipment but also curriculum, learning materials, standards, teacher training and student assessment. The scramble in the developed world while different, is just as hectic as precision manufacturing combined with surging drive for increased productivity puts the "big guys" in a world wide struggle.
Do we see a major impact as a result of these investments? Absolutely! In the developing world, the buildings are being modernized and new equipment is rolling in. The consultants have left a library of new standards, learning materials, teacher and student assessment instruments. Policies and strategies are in place. The frustration is that not many students flock to the new buildings. The computers and other equipment are not used to capacity and the plaintive crys of business and industry keep mounting that they cannot get the skills they need. Why?
In response to this, some funders have moved towards a much more active participation by the private sector in skills development. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are taking on a central role in TVET in many countries, supplying services which Government either cannot provide or is ineffective at providing itself. Besides, let's be realistic.
As this develops, the role of Government changes. Working with Industry, develop national skills policy that ensures international training standards while rolling out an industry driven skills assessment service to ensure that everyone, regardless of how they were trained, can achieve certification of competence.
Making sure the system is accessible to all and that the poor can receive support to get into the certified competence race is a basic Government function. The Industry involvement in training must grow as the Government accountability for consistency, quality and accessibility becomes stronger.
Skills Development must be a partnership or everyone loses.
Do share your thoughts or experience in the Comments below.
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