Bridging gaps in your qualifications:
A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. They have to sail out in the sea, do new things, gather experience and show their credibility by safely reaching the shore on the other side.
A student faces the same situation once he has accomplished his qualifications. He is ready to sail in the world of work, but fails to fill the gap in his qualifications when the organization demands unrealistic experience and qualifications. Sometimes, the employers claim to give priority to soft skills, but even then, the candidate fails to get a job on academic and good soft skills alone.
Employers sat that, ‘Adaptability to change’ and ‘Strategic and Analytic thinking’ are the most important skills looked out for and are the hardest to find.
As 100% of employers percieve that college prepares students for the workplace, and as it is not so in most of the cases, the gap in a job search for the student extends.
To prepare for such situations and to stand out in the hiring process, here are some guidelines.
NACE 2013 conducted a student survey on ‘Do internships lead to jobs?’ and it was found that 63.1% of students who had interned and were paid had got at least one job offer. The study found that college students who worked for paid internships were more likely to receive job offers when compared to unpaid interns.
How to turn your internship into a job:
- Before plunging into it blindly, check its worth by talking to individuals who have done the job before and ask about their experiences.
- Be focused and set specific goals to master explicit skills by the end of your internship
- Be a perfect learner and gather as much information as you can by unhesitatingly clarifying all your doubts when given an assignment and not pretending to know everything
- Do not hesitate to volunteer for tasks which you think could help you fulfill your goals
- Experiences and simulations are among the most powerful ways for students to learn, so therefore internships, which are structured for learning and offer in-service training, always prove to be helpful in building a bridge to your potential job.
- Play safe, do not rely on a single employer for a job offer and strive to have as many internship as possible before graduation.
- Treat the job seriously from day one and concentrate on making valuable job contacts, by bonding with the other fellow interns and seeking opportunities to meet the senior leaders. This will also help you raise your profile within the workplace.
Sometimes it happens that no matter how much ever connections, friends and followers you have the net effect of such distant interactions prove to turn into shallow relationships. How many ever emails you have shared with your network of valuable friends and your one time employer, for your referral, the hiring manager will just treat you as a non-entity. How to fill up such gaps?
- Stop connecting to your recruiters or to your net work of so called virtual friends through the internet.
- Get out in the real world and participate in the real meetings.
- Come out of your comfort zones and attend the alumni meets of your school and university.
- Work for an NGO or join a hobby group
- Attend trade associations meetings
To bridge the gap between you and your prospective career
- Get clarity on what kind of a career would you be interested and then chase your career dreams passionately.
- Education gives us invaluable transferable skills, however to turn them into commercial experiences, you need to know what you are capable of.
- Attend career fairs; get an exposure on the various careers available in the market. These fairs give an opportunity to find out what exact aptitudes recruiters look out for. Around 27% of graduates are hired from career fairs according to the study by Millennium Brand Inc
- You can improve your ‘self’ marketing skills by talking to recruiters, enquiring about the aptitudes required for the job and at the same time making some very valuable contacts.
- Such fairs also offer advice on CV making and thus improving your future chances
If at all, there is a wide unemployment gap/ gap of years in studies:
- For an unemployment gap, say in obtaining the degree and starting a family life or taking off time to look after a sick relative, etc, mention it in your CV or discuss it in person during the interview.
- If you have discontinued a job before, then mention the years and not months of work in your CV.
- If you have done any volunteer work during these years, mention it in your CV.
- Let the CV. be a functional one that lists skills first rather than list of jobs.
- A gap of 6months is considered normal by the employer
- If there are gap of years in your studies, then address the issue directly and honestly. Acknowledge the gap and highlight on your other achievements and responsibilities that you have fulfilled.
To win in both the above situations,
- Do a certification/diploma course to upgrade your earlier qualification, as these are attractive traits for potential employers.
- Illustrating on the experiences of your gap years, clearly articulate what lessons you have learned and explain how these will help you with the job you are applying for.
When you graduate with exposure to the workplace instead of mere theory, when you are ready to upgrade, adapt and widen your skills portfolio, then the barriers of employment between your prospective employer and you are sufficiently reduced. Subsequently, bridging the gaps in your qualification will be accomplished effortlessly.