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Preparing to enter the job market - Part 1

Much has been said about career planning and career development. Books may tell us that career planning is the individual's responsibility, whilst career development is the joint effort of the individual and the organization he is working for.

But there again, there are factors beyond the control of both. Things like the impact of economic activity towards the employment market, for one.

Now how do job seekers strategize as they penetrate the job market. Be it first timers looking for a job or experienced ones, the problem of where do I go from here, irks nearly every one of them. Therefore, what are the solutions available then? Generally, here are some suggestions that you can do to prepare yourselves.

Target Setting

Start off by target setting. What do you want to do and be three to five years down the road? Envision what you want to become. Then work backwards from there. Where are you now, where do you go from here to get there?

Identification of Problem

Next, you need to identify your problems. Where you are now would probably give you some idea on how to create your action plans. Action plans that are monitored, evaluated, remedial measures or contingency plans that resolves any deviation and one that produces results. Your problem may prevail in one of these three components of competencies namely knowledge, skills and behavioral attributes, a stumbling block that can hamper your career growth.

Your knowledge is the acquisition of learning at whatever form, whilst skills are your proven ability to discharge your obligations at work. On the other hand behavioral attributes are the emotional quotient of the real you. Thatís exactly what it is, because emotional quotient regulates your knowledge and skills. It is the integral part that shapes your action and results.

That forms the basics of competency as inputs, internalized within you, to produce outputs. Your output, come in the form of products or services and will inevitably become your accomplishments. The process to get there are the measure of effective performance of duties and tasks, assigned to you. Your job positions may vary, but the principles are still the same.

What are your key strengths and weaknesses? Identify them and regard your weaknesses as shortfalls in the achieving what you want, creating competency gaps. How do you bridge those competency gaps then? Itís either a matter of training, development, mentoring and education.

Probable Problem Analysis

Bridging those competency gaps can easily be overcome either by training, development, mentoring and education. If one of the prerequisite of the position you are vying for, calls for higher education, which you may not have. Then seek and obtain one first, because that shall be the basic knowledge you would need to start with. You must also be aware that knowledge can also be obtained through various means, other than education alone. It can be obtained through books you read on your own, also through the experience of others and you yourself.

Acquisition of knowledge is one thing, but the retention of knowledge is yet another. You will be rated on how much you know. That alone, is the real test of your job knowledge. But your skills, your ability to perform has yet to be proven. That can be done during the three to six months of your probation period, upon securing a job. And your employers will attest to your behavioral attributes that accompany those skills. So, be prepared!

Decision Analysis

Other than knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your knowledge, skills and behavioral attributes; you need to decide on the alternative remedial measures available. It is a matter of choice. You must find the best ways to improve yourself. If you have identified training and development as what you would really require to bridge those gaps, then do something about it. Do not procrastinate. The longer you wait, the more you lose out on the opportunities available in the job market!

Marketing Plan

After having bridged those gaps, we have YOU as the final product to market. As the saying goes "before anything else, getting ready is the secret to success". What you need to do is to prepare the following:

  • 1. Certificate of Attendance
    Compile and photocopy all your "Certificate of Attendances" for all trainings, seminars, workshops, conventions etc that you have attended, in chronological order.
  • 2. Testimonials & Letters Of Commendations
    Organize also all testimonials or letters of commendation for all temporary jobs, volunteer service and internships / industrial trainings undergone; including ensure your skills and accomplishments are highlighted.
  • 3. Institution of Higher Learning Awards
    Ensure you have all your awards, Diplomas, Degrees, Masters and PhD's to be photocopied and a manuscript of detail results accompanying it.
  • 4. Market Segmentation
    Based on your own unique background, your discipline of study, you must identify your market segment to determine types of industry, big players, small and medium enterprise / industries and its regional location. This is to narrow down your focus and enhance your chances of a job opportunity.

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