After being recruited, employers want Engineers, MBAs as well as other graduates and post graduates who can hit the ground running, adding value soon after they start working. They also seek high level technical skills and domain knowledge as well as high degrees of capabilities such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving, decision making, communication, conflict resolution and finally to add value.
How does an employer choose the right person from thousands of fresher applicants all with the same class of degrees are purely based on his or her employability? They say “we recruit for the attitude and then train them for skills”.
Leaving college or university with a good degree is a pre-requisite in the employment market, but this alone is not enough to secure a first job or to retain and grow in professional career.
It is true that institutions and universities in India do impart high quality education. What is missing though is the lack of systematic approach in employability skill development and building on whatever education one receives that’s essential to help land and retain jobs.
Each year, India contributes almost twice the number of engineers brought out by the US and a little less than twice of all that Europe brings out. It is great to note that India has one of the world’s largest most qualified pools of technical manpower. However, when we look at the employability factor, we are far behind.
The McKinsey Global Institute study on emerging global talent market has pointed out that the multinational companies in India find less than 25% of the engineering students and 10% of other graduates and post graduates who graduate every year as falling in the ‘employable’ category. Statistics show that at this rate, India is certain to face a ‘talent gap’ of more than 5 million by 2012.
Whom to blame for this and who will correct them? Is it the Indian education system, universities, institutions, academicians or ourselves? The question is how these 25% of the engineering graduates and 10% of the other graduates and postgraduates are employable?
Nobody is born with employability skills. Individuals develop them in themselves over a period of time with the help of their own initiative, learning abilities and being open to improve. Many of the unemployables do not feel that they need to change due to their mindset and many feel that high scores in the exams are enough to be successful in life but the real story is different.
During the campus placements we often experience students with very average merit and marks receive early placements while meritorious students with high marks are being rejected by the companies. Currently, there are 500 million jobs in India and as much as 92% of these jobs are skill based, 7% are knowledge based and 1% both knowledge and skill based. It is estimated that about 90 million jobs will be created in the next 5 years of which over 50% are expected to be in the service industry. It is evident that freshers with some amount of skills and right attitude will have lot of job opportunities.
The major problem area among most of the freshers is in their CVs and Cover letter. I often come across freshers complaining about not receiving interview calls. In most of the cases, its the unimpressive CV and cover letter, and in many cases there is no cover letter!
Unlike the colleges and universities in Asia and beyond, Indian colleges and universities do not have strong career development activities like CV writing classes, job search training, etc., and in absence of it we ourselves need to have a change of attitude and level of initiatives.
In my experience, the common weaknesses I have witnessed in fresher CVs and cover letter are:
— Badly formatted and unimpressive design.
— CVs without any photograph or casually shot one on webcam or mobile phone.
— Inadequate cover letter or no cover letter.
— Either too lengthy or too short.
— Career highlights are missing.
Freshers are advised to take care of the followings in their CV and cover letter in order to get attention of the recruiters.
Refer to the best samples of the freshers/ entry level CVs in the websites and follow the smart looking format.
Use graphically the best looking CV format.
CV must have a nice studio photograph in formals.
In the beginning of the CV, “Career Highlights” in bullet points and in following order should depict 1. Qualification-Stream-CGPA/ %-University/College. 2. Projects/ internships done. 3. Skills or technology/ programming language known. 4. Personal qualities.
Use better looking fonts than “Times”.
Refer to the best samples on net of cover letter for the freshers/ entry level candidates.
Cover letter must only 3 paragraphs. 1. Reference to the ad and position you are applying or speculative basis. 2. About yourself in text format and in the same order of “Career Highlights”. 3. A line requesting the employer to offer you with an opportunity.
Many freshers do not apply to a company unless a job is advertised. My piece of advice to the freshers of all streams is that you guys need to learn to apply speculative. This means whichever company you dream to work for just send speculative applications. Those who are not getting interview calls and desperate, improve your CV and cover letter and send speculative applications to as many as companies you can. In the age of internet, searching company websites and getting the e-mail ID of HR department is easy and it is far easier to apply to 500 companies in a day or two.