Losing a job nowadays is much easier than finding one – amply highlighted by the global economic recession that began in 2008. Thousands of employees worldwide, especially in the US, lost their jobs overnight as banks and financial institutions jumped in to stem their losses by foreclosures of loans. Hundreds of employees laid off nearly a decade ago continue to remain redundant for reasons ranging from lack of skills to dropping demand.
Economic depressions have a penchant to strike large economies such as the US with alarming alacrity: Nobody can predict when another big bender will strike. Thus, for fresh job seekers, it is imperative to know what to look for when taking up employment. The emphasis now has to shift from doing a “job” to developing a career that is time-proof.
Here are some tips to help students and prospective job seekers to choose a fitting career.
Job vs. career:
An American poet and essayist once said: “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” This axiom holds good for today’s youth who are increasingly at odds over finding and pursuing a great career. A job is something you do to earn money. You sell your skills and time for a fixed pay, regardless of whether you like the work. A career is different: It involves doing what you enjoy, and as much as you can. In plain terms, it means getting paid to pursue your hobby.
Developing a set of skills:
Everyone is intensely passionate about something other than food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs. Each human has innate skills that need to be stirred and developed. However, only a few enrol in courses that permit them to develop their intrinsic skills. Regardless of the course you have studied, you’re probably aware of your ardour for a particular profession or trade.
Investing your time and effort into developing your skills in that specific work can help bag a job in a career of your choice. The legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius exclaimed over 2,500 years ago: “Choose a job you love and you will never work a single day of your life.” You can also develop your chosen skills by attending classes or courses outside your regular university hours.
Upgrading your skills:
This is vital since man and machine are now locked in a race – and the outlook for the humble human doesn’t look promising. Newer software and machines can do the job of many, reducing dependence on manpower. Upgrading your skills frequently is crucial. Myriad resources available on the Internet can help you hone and update your skills to give you a vital edge when applying for jobs.
Join groups related to your skills and career:
Scores of online forums exist across the world for almost every conceivable skill or talent. These permit persons from diverse cultures to exchange notes on existing and developing trends. Group discussions are held online that add to the skill development process.
Social media networks such as Facebook feature interest groups from various countries. Staying in touch with developments worldwide can help you get better paid jobs abroad, provided you are willing to relocate.
Multinationals usually headhunt for people who are willing to work outside their native countries. Blogs are an effective way to learn about the demand for your skills.
Humans have inborn deficiencies that you need to guard yourself against. This process begins with identifying areas that are directly related to your career but not have no imminent impact. For example, a student may be a financial wizard but lack basic computer skills.
Whatever your grey area, it would pay well to identify it as early as possible and work on acquiring the additional skill. It could turn out to be a lifesaver in situations such as an economic depression.
A relatively new concept, time proofing made its appearance in the US and other major job markets in the aftermath of the 2009 global economic recession. Plainly put, time proofing means protecting your career and skills against adverse times and developments that occur in any sphere over a period.
Acquisition of new skills, fine tuning existing ones and remaining in touch with the industry help buy some degree of time proofing. Meaning, you are protected to some degree against an imminent layoff.
Develop business skills:
Acquaint yourself with how a company works. Such knowledge is essential when applying for a job or vying for a promotion within an organization: Bosses look for people who are business minded. Remember, business is all about making money.
Avoid underselling yourself:
Most job aspirants are desperate to get employed. They are willing to take the first job offered regardless of the salary offered. Such job aspirates prioritize experience over earnings and settle for payments that can be significantly lower than industry standards.
This jeopardizes your future prospects since your salary will be one of the bargaining chips while applying for another job. Job adverts usually mention salaries or wages a worker can expect, which gives a fair idea about what you can expect to be paid. Monitoring job websites is therefore a good idea.
Gathering certificates, documents and accolades:
This is very simple. Ask your school and every educational institute attended for certificates and other proofs of attendance and performance. Certificates issued for attending camps, competitions and accolades earned for your performance in sports or other activities help boost career prospects.
Apple polishing your teachers guides and mentors:
Many reputed organizations now engage companies to run background checks on job applicants. These background check companies call or email the references you provide on your resume. An adverse remark need not necessarily disqualify you for a job, but is highly undesirable especially when embarking on a chosen career. You can reap rich dividends by staying in the good books of your teachers, guides, mentors and other persons who may feature as your references.
Why these tips are important:
Educational institutions in the US and elsewhere pay millions of dollars annually for career counsellors on their campuses. Despite its importance, most students frown upon career counselling because they are insolently determined about what they wish to do.
Such haughtiness can cost dearly. Students tend to sacrifice enjoyable jobs for the glitter of money, so you should realize that you can be happy in your work while prospering.
This article was contributed by guest author Sam.