Crafting your career
Grab a paper and pencil now or open the notes section of your fancy smart phone and start making a list of the things that you need to do in order to move one step closer to your dream career.
1. MY DREAM
You are special and unique. Your dreams matter, because when you put them into action, you can make this world a better place in your own special way. There are a ton of options available in today’s work environment, for someone looking to start or improve a career. Making a choice can be very overwhelming, as more often than not, you like more than one option. I personally have met so many people that struggle to make a decision about their career or figure out their ‘calling’. In fact some do so, all through their work lives. Let me assure you that this is normal and it is fine to take your time to come to a conclusion about your life’s real purpose in this world. Some of the world’s greatest achievers started out on a totally different path all through their work lives and have yet gone on to achieve global success. So, it is never too late to start! But it is important to get on the road and take on an occupation that best suits your strengths, skills and needs and give it your all. If you feel that you need to course correct you can always make the change when you are ready to do so, because you are the boss of your own life and you have the right to make your decisions.
2. MY QUALIFICATION / SKILLS
Each type of career you choose to take up, has its expected set of qualifications and skills by the industry. It is your qualifications and work experience that become the base for your selection in a job that you apply for or you get shortlisted for. E.g. If you wish to be a financial expert and join the finance team of an organization you ideally need to have completed your graduation in commerce and be a CA / CFA / MBA Finance etc. Likewise, if you wish to be a film or video editor you should have the proficiency of working with After Effects, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Animation etc. Certain industry market leaders are picky about the institute you have graduated from and how well you did, as a pre-requisite for selection. This however is an exception and not the rule, because if that be the case, it would be only the merit list holders that would have jobs. Having said that, there are a lot of courses / certifications available for you to choose from; full-time university courses within or outside your city or country, distance learning education, online education etc. It is highly recommended that you evaluate all the options available before making a decision. The few things that you definitely need to check for are, their internship and placement records, the curriculum detailing, faculty and industry acceptability. With the right set of qualifications and skills in place, you bring the base knowledge and expertise required to fit into a team from the word ‘go’. The fact of the matter is that all companies want you to hit the road running so that returns on their investment in you, are great and quick. Good and mature human resource managements have a BUDDY/MENTOR system in place to allow new entrants to fit in better and have a for any queries that you may have. You might want to check with HR heads if they have such a system in place during your job interviews. It is needless to say, that although it is important, it is not qualification alone that sets your growth trajectory in a job. The hands on, ‘in the trenches experience’ and your personal initiative to push newer boundaries, is what finally make you shine through.
3. MY RESUME/ CURRICULUM VITAE
Your or or is a representation of you in the hands of a recruiter and is usually the first time he/she gets to know that you exist in this world; and hence it is important to make a good first impression. If your CV is not impressive enough it is likely to get screened out and you could lose out on a potentially good opportunity. I have come across so many CV’s that fail a candidate at the first step itself. Over the years of my career, the CV’s that have made an impression on me have been the ones that clearly state the key things that I have wished to see as a recruiter – career objective, skills, work experience, qualifications and personal details. There are several templates available online, but please be warned that what is more important than the design for a recruiter is the content, the formatting and the structured approach to your presentation of YOU. It is advisable that you make your CV on your own as this will test your writing, formatting and presentation skills. If however you can’t, it is best that you get it drafted by a professional.
4. SHARPENING MY SKILLS
The diversity in culture across the globe and socio-economic divide produces a heterogeneous workforce in terms of body language, accent and non-linear soft skills. You are awesome as you are, however there may be certain traits or skills in you that need some work and it is best to acknowledge them and seek help to improve them. This is important as corporate human resource teams wish to have a congenial team members. Check whether you need polishing in areas like:
Using Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook
Preparing for an interview
5. PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW
Getting ready for the interview may seem that there isn’t much to do except for just landing up for it. There is a little more to it than just that and I have some key things to keep in mind if you wish to ace your interview. I recommend the following checklist:
Read about the company
Understand the selection process
Update my CV
Documents to carry
Read up on current affairs
What do I do a day before the interview
Plan an appropriate attire
Remember the handshake tips
Tips for the interview
Reflect on my learning
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