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A changed world of job hunts

-- By Kamal Kant

Paper qualifications are no longer enough to get you a job you desire. Even the local employment market has gone global. People not only travel to neighbouring countries but internationally in search of a job. With unemployment fairly widespread in many countries, developing job-hunting capabilities has become a vital life skill if one hopes to remain employed. Just like a degree or diploma has become a pre-requisite for jobs, you need to invest in attending workshops on careers, resume writing and interview skills besides engaging a career coach to guide and help you navigate your job hunt.

Applying for a job you want means developing the skills and qualities that go with the job. But such skills and qualities are not developed overnight, so the earlier you start the process of thinking, strategising and planning towards that job, the more successful you are likely to be. You need to learn the processes and considerations involved in the job hunt. Increasingly to be a successful job hunter, you require undertaking appropriate reflection and rehearsal to improve your job applications and performance at interviews. Ultimately your job application must be a winning pitch to get you that sought after job interview. At the all-important interview, you need to make it a predictable, manageable and successful event.


Standing Out From the Crowd

It is important to remember that an estimated half if not more of the available job vacancies are open to people from any discipline. Many job opportunities in the 21st century often lie in areas that have very little relation to the discipline or subject you may have studied! This means that opportunities open to you are very wide indeed. But on the same note, it even intensifies the competition for the sought after job. As a consequence, employers may have much more interest in everything outside your subject or discipline of study. Many job hunters find this hard to acknowledge when their subject or discipline has been the focus of study and the investment of much money in tuition fees, books and living expenses during the period of study!

What are Employers Looking For?

You are more likely to be a stronger candidate if you appear more knowledgeable about the skills and qualities required for the specific job that interest you. It therefore critical to research to sufficient depth and breadth the specific job and company you are applying so that you stand out from the crowd. Why? Most employers and recruitment consultancies are seeking minimum effort and minimum cost in their recruitment and selection. Make their job easier by ensuring the contents of your resume and what you communicate at the interview fits their requirement snugly.

Employers are looking for candidates who are ‘work-ready’ and willing to learn quickly on the job with little or no training with minimal disruption and botheration to colleagues and supervisors! Candidates who demonstrate a broad range of people skills, task-management skills and proactive positive personal qualities as well as subject matter knowledge generally have an edge in their job hunt. Employers value soft skills and often shortlist candidates who demonstrate these appropriately throughout the recruitment and selection process. Though soft skills are hard to measure or quantify, they oil the wheels of any work situation.

The Rising Tide of Soft Skills

Research has increasingly shown the employer desired soft skills include efficient and effective oral communication, ability to work in diverse teams, understanding what is active listening, competency to communicate in writing concisely and meaningfully, an ability to size up situations and define them as solvable problem definitions. Employers are also seeking people who are good at influencing, persuading and convincing others besides having a knack for developing relationships and sensitivity to diversity.

If you have the capacity to share knowledge, manage your time efficiently and effectively, an adaptive communication style and be a greatly likable personality, you will come through as a preferred candidate. All these are not easy to demonstrate in resumes and interviews. This is where you need to learn and develop resume writing and interview skills. A critical reason to attend workshops and seek coaching in job hunting!

Employment Marketplace Requirements

Research also shows that traditional intellectual skills are still important. This includes an ability to critically evaluate evidence and make concrete decisions, argue logically, apply theory to practice, model work situations and challenges qualitatively and quantitatively as well as challenge taken-for-granted assumptions. Organisations are also demanding from candidates an understanding and appreciation of how the organisation works and its culture. Personality attributes required for short listing include a good sense of self-reliance and resilience, adaptability, flexibility, creativity and a ‘sixth sense’ of awareness!

Getting a job in today’s workplace is no longer a no-brainer. It needs learning, training and coaching. Not investing in developing job-hunting skills and work place competencies is simply accepting that you may remain or become jobless and unemployable!

Contributed by Kamal Kant, Career Management Professional, Next Transition Pte. Ltd.
Website: http://www.nexttransition.com
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