Education, Careers and Job search experiences
Most of the academic programs focus on general purpose skill-set development. There are a few things you learn through your studies and then there are some other attributes in your persona which you “get” through your “total academics” experience. You career interests, your job focus and job-track would help you develop some additional highly important skills for your job type, some of them very critical. It’s been more than 20 years that I have been in research, development and strategic analysis jobs in multiple types of career-tracks so far ranging from software development and architecture to consulting and strategic analysis and finally to operations management and planning. From my understanding and leanings through education and job reviews till now, I can tell that critical skill sets on a measurement scale for your job success in above mentioned type of careers and job tracks would rank in this order:
1. Mathematical Ability: Base level, Good arithmetic intelligence
2. Comparative Analysis: Apples to apples, Oranges to oranges, Common sense
3. Graphical Analysis: Knowledge of "how much different". What kind of differences, Visual “eye”
4. Statistical Analysis: Mean, Median, Mode, Deviation, Variance calculation type of intelligence in analytics
5. Visual Analysis/Data Science: Visioning, Visualization, Extrapolation, Interpolation, Understanding of patterns and ability to follow and match trends
6. Historical analysis or data processing: Knowledge and analytics timeline processing of “History, Civics, Geography along with Science”, General knowledge and quick information storage and retrieval
7. Algorithmic Analysis: Real time “Cluster analysis, A/B testing, Processing information in head, Regression of multiple decision at once in real time” when needed
8. Imagination: Understanding of the word "New”, “From definition of it to putting it to shape and concluding it to fruition”
Now on career and job search front though, I have been through job searches and employee recruitment rounds multiple times so far in my career and have leaned few things in my past 20 years of recruitments, jobs and job search experiences. Here are some of the “types” of job search experiences I have been through:
1. Campus recruitment job searches (BS & MS/MBA): When companies go out and hire students from campuses, they mostly look for the best students. That is why they put out challenging recruitment and qualification process that measures student qualities on multiple scales. Usual focus is on:
Subject matter expertise (Your undergrad transcripts),
Written and Spoken English.
Most of the campus recruitment process and student hiring from schools focuses on measurement of students on above mentioned abilities. Top 25% percent students who do well in all these aspects do very well in campus recruitment process. These students are mostly multi-dimensional personalities. For example in our BS final year campus recruitment process in India, top 10 or so multinational hiring companies of our times (the ones which also hired students on campus in India in those days) had multiple levels of testing. They even put out minimum %age bar at 70% in under graduate program for entry into their "written test" round. Interview and viva-voce measured students on personality development as well and interview questions used to be from multiple areas including politics, economics, international, current affairs, sport, science and technology, geography etc. Ranks, Positions, and Scores were important and so were undergrad transcripts.
2. Specific network hiring: Some jobs would require network and hierarchies build-out. Ladder system becomes important for reasons such as quota achievement or commission sharing %ages at “job” levels. Hiring for specific skill-set such as “sales personality”, targeting some very specific attributes in personalities of job candidates i.e. army background and strict selection process is very important for such jobs. Important skill-sets are
Links in network
Top performer in “critical” skill set
Background or connectivity in target customer companies or customer groups
Companies which would focus on one or two skills because their work or processes would only need those skills such as let's say “Spoken English” only (for sure because they don't want employees to have other skills, skills which would make them qualify for other better jobs..) for customer support roles or “sales-networking” for network sales jobs are recruiters of this type. Students who do very well on just these one or two abilities are good target candidates for such companies or for such jobs. Students from let's say army background, students let’s say from VIP links, high income full payment students (financial backing and hence can start job just on commission basis) and creamy layer (bureaucracy links) students for government links do very well in these kind of jobs. However they might not do very well in academic scoring as they don’t perform well in all aspects of academic requirements i.e. wouldn't clear 70% bar and don't do very well in IQ or general knowledge testing and so would not qualify for multination jobs of last example. During out times 75% of the students would have fallen in this class statistically.
3. Open market hiring: Small companies or companies which could only hire trained employees, would go out and hire people through job postings, recruitment events, job portals and networks. Apart from approaching such employers through employee connections and by communicating directly with HR, you could appeal to such employers if you show up in internet search results and have
Very good “Resume”
Well written “Cover Letter”
Sharable work such as “Write-up” from and inputs from your performance review reports
Awards and public domain work from your past jobs
And last of-course your job network and its type i.e. people you know and point to in case someone wants “people-names”:
This type of job search almost becomes a necessity for some people such as
- people from consulting background who would need a new consulting engagement every two years (good references from past projects and brand of customer companies would come handy for such job searchers)
- people who change jobs every 5-6 years and have had relationships in many companies in industry (would want to explore and find best available opportunity to them by sending out job search material to connections),
Job search itself as a “skill-set” is critical requirement for such people probably even more important that workplace relationships i.e. manager-employee relationship or “peer” relationship. The reason is these relationships are “variable” for such people and would change every few years but good ranks, education, credentials, research outcomes and references would become constants and you would always carry them with you. Another highly important requirement for such folks is good index of public domain sharable “work” and project results.
People who have been in “a” job for longer than 15 years in one place and would want to stay in similar career track would have developed very specific skill-set by being in such category of employees. They wouldn’t probably even prefer using this approach for their next job search as
- they would have very specific and cookie cutter skill-set because of being in a “type” of job for very long and there are very few “next jobs”(might not even have a public job search resume)
- one or at-most two job changes through-out career and most probably because of some special event at workplace (Probably good friends in similar situation would come out as a better job search network.)