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10+1 steps for raising the bar on your employability and getting hired

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steps-to-employabilityYou need to raise the bar on your employability or help someone around you to, urgently, raise the bar on their employability. Someone said, to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is insanity. This means we need to deploy new solutions, new actions if we seek new results. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in delicate and uncomfortable times. As at the writing of this article, inflation rate has risen by 17%; unemployment rate has risen to 12% (a consecutive rise since 2014); and GDP growth rate is -14% (meaning a decline in sales and earnings). While this is happening, the number of universities and polytechnics has increased and the number of graduates pouring into the employment market has thus increased as well. Do you know we now have at least 141 universities? Implication: a shrunk economy with a large talent pool, requires graduates and job seekers to raise the bar on their employability.

What is employability? “Employability refers to a person’s capability of gaining initial employment, maintaining employment, and obtaining new employment if required (Hillage and Pollard, 1998). In simple terms, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. More comprehensively, employability is the capability to move self-sufficiently within the labour market to realise potential through sustainable employment. For individuals, employability depends on the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s) they possess, the way they use those assets and present them to employers, and the context (e.g. personal circumstances and labour market environment) within which they seek work.” – Getting a Job is a Job: A No-Nonsense Practical Guide to Getting Your Desired Job, by Aruosa Osemwegie.

Here are 10 plus one steps for raising your employability:
1. Raise the bar by becoming unreasonable – “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Start with the mindset of being “unreasonable”. For the next one year, be willing to extend yourself beyond yourself; outdo yourself; and doubt your doubts.

Be determined to put your best and most creative foot forward. Seek new ways of doing things. Pursue unconventional paths. Don’t be limited by “how things have been done” seek for how else it can be done faster, cheaper, differently, richer, etc. Bring creative ideas to … Getting a Job Plan….100 Days Plan. Your mindset needs to be reengineered.

2. Raise the bar by redefining employment – once upon a time, employment meant working with the government and in big corporations. Nowadays, it means getting well paid jobs in companies – big and small. In these uncomfortable-and-less-understood-times, we need to extend the meaning some more.

Employment covers any legal endeavor that makes you productive to yourself and to society. It includes traditional notions of employment, part-time employment (dealer, retailer, reseller, direct sales agency, marketer, network marketing, aggregator of goods/services, trade representative etc) and entrepreneurship (agribusiness, trading, skilled craftsmanship, etc).

3. Raise the bar by understanding Product-You – a product you do not understand you cannot sell. I agree with Lolu Mogaji that “the You that you do not know, you cannot sell”. Have a meeting with yourself and rigorously seek to uncover who you really are. Have granular clarity about your strengths and passions; personal values and interests; key skills and defining experiences; goals and plans for the future etc. “A creative job search begins with personal discovery.

When you know yourself better, you then know what you can naturally do better. Armed with this knowledge, each of us begins to get an idea of the purpose of our lives. “Self-discovery is the road to self-mastery” – Anon. Finding out who we are, is our first step towards success. The first assignment that nature bestows on all of us is called, “You, discover yourself” – Aruosa Osemwegie, Getting a Job is a Job.

4. Raise the bar on developing you – burn the midnight candle becoming the kind of person that serious people and prime organisations would like to have on their team. Carry out a SWOT analysis on yourself, create a Personal Development Plan (PDP) and then ruthlessly pursue learning and development. “PDP is a plan to develop skills or/and knowledge in pre-identified areas of your life.

Every idle time is a time to be used to gain more information or a period to test or deepen a skill” – iYou: Spike up Your Career…Manage it as a Brand by Aruosa Osemwegie. Relentlessly grow knowledge, skills and attitudes in areas where you are deficient and develop mastery in areas where you are naturally good. Also you need to develop Productivity skills (use of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Planning & Goal setting); Technical skills (any skills related to your chosen occupation) and Personal effectiveness skills (Business communication, Presentation skills, Proposal writing, Emotional intelligence, Reading & Researching, Personal grooming, Sales & marketing etc).

5. Raise the bar on your job search – revise and upgrade your job search tactics. First, note that Getting Job is a Job on itself – so take your job search as a fulltime employment. Don’t be casual about it, and don’t do it on a part time basis. Give it all the time and effort that you have. So, create a Job Search Plan (JSP). A JSP is a complement to a PDP.

Your JSP would include a list of organisations you want to apply to; a list of companies that are service providers to these organisations; the regulators and professional bodies related to the occupations you are interested in; a list of recent school mates and where they work; a list of Uncles and Aunties who can help you with your search; list of job sites where you can submit your CV; list of social enterprises/NGOs that you love their work and add columns for action required and action taken etc. Conduct an exhaustive research and create this JSP. Make sure you write it down, do not trust it to your memory. Use it as a guide for your daily actions.

6. Raise the bar through digital and social media proficiency – the 21st century is the digital age and it requires keen development of digital and social media competency. Computer proficiency isn’t the same as digital proficiency. Digital proficiency is a needful skill for your job search. Because many businesses and their customers now live ‘online’, it is also a high demand skill for many businesses and job roles.

7. Raise the bar through volunteering and working for free – volunteering to work part time or full time with or without pay indeed helps you to raise the bar on your employability. It increases your chance of getting a job faster and allows you become work-ready. It gives you, hands on work experience. You get to learn how the workplace works and what matters first hand. You gain knowledge, skills and develop work ethics. It also ensures you aren’t an idle mind and we know what they say happened to the idle mind.

8. Raise the bar on Resume development and LinkedIn profile – a great CV helps to do a good job of properly presenting your best self in the best of light. A resume is a very important document. It would go to places in few minutes that you cannot easily get to without transporting yourself. A CV grants you access into selection tests and interviews. A CV helps to tell a compelling or a weak story. Same with your LinkedIn profile – you can say that your LinkedIn profile is your online CV. Invest time to learn how to craft a great one.

9. Raise the bar through the NYSC programme – the NYSC scheme isn’t a period to rest from the rigours of going to school. Instead it is a time to be spent for preparing and positioning for the future. Use that period to create and execute your PDP. Use that period to execute a Society Development Programme (SDP) – a set of initiatives aimed at adding value to various groups during NYSC. Look for different ways to add value to the NYSC chapter in your state of primary assignment; your CDS group; the school you are posted to; vulnerable groups (women, children, the disabled, the displaced, etc); the State or Local government. This is called creating your CV everywhere.

10. Raise the bar by thinking as a solution provider – as long as there are challenges around us, so there would be need for solutions. See yourself as a solution provider. Look around you for solutions you can bring to people, organisations and communities. You could send a solution or idea proposal instead of a CV. You could send in a list of suggestions and ideas instead of sending in a CV. Your job title is now, “Solutions Provider”.

11. Raise the bar through massive execution – it’s not what you know that matters, it is what you do with what you know that counts. So, someone said do not be lacking for effort, instead I say do not be lacking for great effort. Move boldly in the direction of your dreams. Decide RIGHT NOW the next seven things you must do and do them. Decide RIGHT NOW not to do anything else ordinarily but exceptionally. Do little things massively. Take massive steps, and take them now. Be a WHALE of value. And even if you a whale find yourself in a small pond, deliver whale-level value STILL.

Remember what Henry David Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”


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