Jobless to Job ready : How can students prepare for their career?

By Haneena Atheeq - July 20, 2020

Photo by Jeshoots on Unsplash
It's been a really confusing time since the pandemic began. The overall routine of work and education has been seriously affected. The lockdown has made us uncertain of what the future upholds for the coming generations. Situations like lockdown hinders students from gaining the knowledge and skills that are necessary in their work life. But worry not! There's plenty of ways you can make the best out of this time to enhance your skills.

We might ask, Isn't it the responsibility of educational institutions? 
In a logical sense, yes but in reality, no because ultimately colleges can only teach you about your field, but not how to apply it in your life. They are the passerby who will show you the path to a destination but however you, the traveler have to walk on that road to reach your destination.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
It's very normal to be clueless about what you can do to build the skills and knowledge apart from your institutional syllabus. That's when online learning comes into picture. There are many contradicting opinions about online learning. But believe it, amidst all the not-so-understandable ones, there are enough quality courses that will enable you to learn practically about anything you wish to learn. There is no dearth of resources available for students in this century. It's time we try to make the best out of these resources to build our expertise.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it"  
                                                                                         - Abraham Lincoln 

The Super Mario Effect

The reason sometimes students don't learn consistently might be the lack of the 'Super Mario effect' as mentioned by Mark Rober.The Super Mario Effect is a concept based on the game 'Super Mario' where Mario, the plumber keeps dodging obstacles to finally save the Princess from the evil Bowser. The concept talks about how we treat failure. It's very common to lose in a video game and even after losing in a level, we never stop playing and keep giving it another try. For example, in the Super Mario game, we might fall onto a pit in the first attempt. But when we try the second time, we now know that there's a pit on the path and jump avoiding it. This means that everytime we make a mistake, we become better at solving it. That's how we keep on improving our skills. So when we meet with failure, we need to put on our ' Super Mario Effect ' cap and keep learning to dodge all the obstacles on our path and turn it into a lesson learned.

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new"
                                                                                                                 -  Albert Einstein

Let's start

"Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
               - Francis of Assisi

So let's move on to how we can practically implement this in our student life and get ready for a great career ahead of us.

  1. Know thyself

  • Knowing yourself implies realising your personal and professional goals, identifying your strengths (what you think you're good at) and weaknesses (things that you need to work on). Easiest way to decide this could be by closing your eyes for a minute and picturing yourself in the future.
  • Put all these points in a journal or a note and reflect on the path that you'll need to work on to achieve these goals.

  1. Research your route

 Photo by William Iven on Unsplash
  • The moment you realise what you want to achieve professionally, you'll need to find out about the skills you need to master in order to reach that  target.
  • Make sure whether these skill requirements are going to be relevant for the next 5-10 years.Understand the industry standards and roles .
  • Note down these skills and make a plan to acquire them within a fixed time.

  1. Get yourself Hooked to LinkedIn

Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash
  • No matter what profession/field you are into, make a LinkedIn profile. 
  • In today's world, creating a LinkedIn account means to be open for the job market.
  • Make yourself visible to companies and several recruiters looking for people in the same field as you.
  • Follow all those biggies who you think have achieved the same dream that you have decided to aim for.
  • Connect and ask relevant questions to build a professional network with them.
  • There are tons of students who don't know where to find opportunities. LinkedIn is one such place where you can connect with some of the brightest people in your industry. So there's no shortage of opportunities.
  • It's just that you need to look for them. 
  • Contradicting one of the most popular quotes, opportunities do not come and knock at your door. You need to go door-to-door and figure out opportunities. So get out of that door!

  1. Start your learning journey

  • There are learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, LinkedIn learning and many more that offer hundreds of courses on different fields and subjects.
  • Investing our time in learning these skills will build our knowledge as we learn from experienced professors from across the globe through these online platforms.

  1. Implement your learning

  • When you have learnt enough about a particular skill, it is a waste if you don't apply it on something.
  • You can't say you have acquired a skill unless you have practically used that knowledge somewhere.
  • How can you implement?
    1. Build projects
    2. Volunteer in any group and solve a real world problem.
    3. Solve your own day to day problems.
  • You don't need to look far and wide to search for problems. Pick some of your daily struggles and make it easier with your newly learnt skill.
  • When you try this process, you gain confidence over your skill and improve your resume.
  • As you acquire new skills and implement it, it is advantageous to simultaneously share them on LinkedIn.
  • You need to keep updating your profile and resume and be active for a job role.

  1. Internships:First-hand experience

Photo by Clayton Cardinalli on Unsplash
  • The skills we acquired are put to test when you actually enter the industry.
  • Instead of facing the pressure in your work life in the future, it's better to get a first hand experience of the industry before you start your career.
  • Internships will give you a realistic idea on how to utilise your skills to solve real life problems.
  •  It also serves like an icing to your Resume cake as employers usually prefer a candidate with prior experience more efficient for the job.
  • Internships can be paid or unpaid. If you can manage to find a paid internship, it's well and good. But no matter what internships come your way, just try it. Ultimately what's going to count is what you have learnt from it whether you received a stipend or not.
  • Set your goal to learn from the experience.

"If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat! Just get on."
                   -  Sheryl Sandberg

  • How to find internships?
    1. LinkedIn posts several job requirements for Interns.
    2. Internshaala is also one of the top sites to apply for internship in various fields.
    3. If you are looking for anything particular,visit respective company websites to check for internships.

  1. Stay up-to-date

  • Keep yourself updated with all the trends in your field.
  • Be aware of the job requirements that may change from time to time.
  • Never stop learning.

It's never too late

You might be in your final year or first year wondering about where to start. If you haven't started with any of these steps yet, It is okay to be confused at this stage of life.
 It's never too late to get the kind of job that you love.

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking! Don't settle."
                      - Steve Jobs

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash
And it all begins with one small step.
Decide that you won't settle for anything less than your dreams.
When you dream, it is also your responsibility to put that into action.
So write your dream down and get started!
What's stopping you from picking up that pen now?

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