Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Sumeet Anand & SM Nafay Kumail
Published on Times Ascent Online , August 06, 2010 at 11:32:03 AM
Gone are the days when only a decent relevant education from a reputed institution resulted in life-long employment bliss. Despite a decent academic background, at every juncture in the career, one has to prove that one has skills for the next larger role
Changes in the economy have completely transformed the job market in the last couple of decades. India too is struggling to adjust to this reality. In India even today, people with long experience in the traditional sector are thoroughly surprised when they come across an IT professional with a background in sociology or anthropology. Gone are the days when only a decent relevant education from a reputed institution resulted in life-long employment bliss. Today, education alone doesn’t lead to a good employment opportunity. Even if a decently qualified person gets called for an interview, it might not lead to a gainful employment but a much less educated candidate who can convince the interviewer of the relevant skills for the job-on-offer could make it. Even if someone with good educational qualifications gets hired, it may not always lead to a successful career. Despite a decent academic background, at every juncture in the career, one has to prove that one has skills for the next larger role.
In this rather welcome situation, both people who want to get hired and those who want to hire will have to come to terms with the reality and focus on the right skills. Right from preparing resumes to working towards higher goals in professional life, people need to demonstrate that they have the right skills to be able to execute jobs, learn on-the-job to get better at what they do, and remain on the continuous journey of acquiring the skills for future. These skills are different from the certified knowledge coming from the degrees of the courses completed (however relevant these may be to an industry). This is more so for the job aspirants because the unconditional advantage of having a professional degree is fast withering away. Candidates appearing for a job not just face competition from many equally qualified people but also from less qualified people from no-so-famous colleges who are demonstrably much more skilled at doing things and taking up challenges.
Employers are also increasingly realising that what they need are people who can take up the challenge by using and continuously honing their skills and not only the folks with degrees with higher grades and people coming out of institutes with higher ratings.
Both experienced professionals and candidates entering the job market have to specially focus on showing their skills to people who are involved in performance assessment and to potential employers. With social computing becoming handy tools for people of all hues, working professionals and going-to-be-working professionals can do great deal of self-branding to show how they have acquired and honed relevant skills to solve problems. Blogs, wikis, online presentations, and answering questions to help solve unique business problems on wider social networks are just a few ways of doing it. Resumes have to also start looking different. In a less than 10-minutes video on YouTube, you can show that you can communicate verbally well but can also demonstrate how well you organise your thoughts and what are the key areas of knowledge and skills you highlight. The first hurdle of being able to communicate is crossed. Now you can easily move on to other better social computing tools that help you in expression and organisation of your portfolio of knowledge, skills and works for prospective employers to explore even before they meet you face to face for a formal interview.