You might have heard stories from relatives or friends who struggle to land a proper job, despite years of studying and preparing for a professional career path.
Engineers can’t land decent gigs, medical students can’t find the right fit, and even some tech-related verticals seem to be having a hard time.
What’s going on?
Saturated industries can be some of the most promising (that’s why they are so crowded in the first place). Couple this with advances in technology and innovation that present opportunities as well as challenges, and you’re probably going to have businesses operating in a tight economy amidst increasingly competitive markets.
What this means is that it can get pretty tricky for students to gain a solid footing in many industries (especially without guidance and relevant work experience). There are a few things you need to understand if you’re going to stand out from the crowd and increase your shot at gainful employment.
Your youth is a gift
Being at the starting line of a long and arduous race can be a huge advantage, you just have to realise it. Being young means that time is on your side and that you can easily evaluate your decisions before making any commitments.
Don’t squander the gift of youth by failing to plan and waiting too long to prepare. Consider all your options and career possibilities and start early. Begin strategising sooner than later (especially if the job you want is in one of the more competitive industries).
Skills, skills and skills
Being passionate about a career choice might not be enough. You’re probably going to find plenty of other newcomers who are just as passionate and determined as you are. Skills are some of the biggest things that can differentiate you from your competitors.
Will a carpenter be hired without the necessary tools and knowledge? What makes you think you’ll be able to land a job with nothing but a pretty face and “passion”?
Practice developing your skills, even before you begin your job search. Whether you want to be a doctor, engineer, mechanic or pilot, skills can separate the truly determined from the other ordinary fresh grads.
Plenty of students don’t think it’s fair that employers expect young employees to have the experience, but there are plenty of internship programmes, courses and workshops that aim to help you develop applicable skills.
In a sea of complainers, stand out as a doer.
Ask for help
You might be determined, but you’re human too. If you feel a little anxious and clueless about entering the field of your dreams, proper guidance can shift your perspective and mindset to better prepare you for a competitive industry and open up an array of job opportunities.
Find mentors that have succeeded in your preferred field. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to offer help without much (if anything at all) in return.
The moment that interview for your dream company comes along you’re probably going to feel a lot more confident knowing about the intricacies of the job you’ve applied for. You might even surprise your potential employer with all the knowledge that you have.
Work on those soft skills
Technical skills, solid work experience and a good amount of knowledge should be considered crucial traits if you’re looking at standing out from the crowd. However, employers these days might often also look for candidates with exceptional soft skills.
When you apply for a job (any job), you’re probably going to have an interviewer quiz you and observe your body language and social behaviour.
He/she is likely trying to find out whether you have the emotional intelligence, work ethic, intellect and communication capabilities necessary to survive and excel in the position you’re aiming for.
Spend time developing the human-oriented attributes that are in-demand.
In a world where technological advances are rapidly disrupting every facet of life, good people with good people skills can really fill the void and provide that essential human touch.