Njuki Moments

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Excelling at work without the 'right' qualifications

When employers advertise for job vacancies, they will normally have a long list of qualifications to go with the ad. A lot of these will list what you need to have studied, and several years of experience. It is the norm around the employment terrain.It may also include which characteristics and attitude they want their new employee to have.
For the employers and their recruiting agents, this makes perfect sense. After all you get to root out the undesirables even before the process starts. However, even after such a weeding mechanism some times employers end up with the chaff they wanted to avoid, in the form of unsuitable workers both in skill, motivation, attitude and education.
How so?
Stories have been told of degree certificates 'Made at Nasser Road’, so an employer is surprised to have someone with impeccable results but still not right for the job. Other things like attitude towards work, creativity (which is yet to be got a good measure for in the interview room) may also affect the selection criteria.

But how can one still manage to land their dream job, and excel without the known 'right' qualifications?

Create your own interview environment
Many people have excelled at jobs which one would hardly say they are rightly qualified for. If you believe you are a great broadcaster, for example, but the usual list of qualifications denies you entry, create your own demo. This may involve spending a little more of your own money and time to put together something which will excite your prospective employer without really going through the usual recruitment route.
By doing this, you would have demonstrated that you know what your employer needs and you can deliver it. Every one likes the guy who delivers results. This is likely to get you hired.

Study informally on your own
There is a good number of excelling employees who did not necessarily study what they are doing...that is in school. The internet, for example presents numerous opportunities for self-learning .Use it.

Talk to people who are doing what you want to get into. Unlike what most people think; people who are successful are always glad to share what they know and to mentor someone do better that which they are doing themselves. So, talk to them. Go out of your way to associate with them and learn as much as possible.

Don't respond to job adverts directly
This may seem diversionary, right? But it makes sense. If a person who does not match up to the usual requirements shows up when others with the ’ listed ‘ requirements are being interviewed, chances are they will be showed the door. Because the employer’s mindset is locked on her 'fool-proof' way of attracting talent and therefore those who don't make the mark will be unwelcome.
However, when you show up for a job posting even without it being advertised or after the formal recruitment process, someone is likely to pay attention to you, if you have what they need. There are a lot of administrators who have never been to management school, just like star journalists who have never attended journalism school.
Timing here is key. A lot of research maybe needed to identify the existing need or gap which you can fill.
Intern and volunteer

A mechanical engineer friend of mine tells me just how well our education system prepares us for the real work world! According to him, the often well performing employee with hardly a year in formal engineering or mechanical school, but who has interned for some time or volunteered in industries they want to get employed in are far better at their jobs than fresh graduates with all the book knowledge.
Success at this may also get you a lowly starting position, but it presents an opportunity for you to work your way up the ladder as you gain more exposure, skills and experience.

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