Ever wondered why the smartest person in your class hasn’t found a job?
Competition in the job market is much higher now than ever. Every year, companies budget a ton of money to recruit exceptional candidates in hopes that these new talents will thrust their team to the next level. Grades don’t cut it anymore with this new strategy in seeking talent! So what can you do to set yourself apart? If you don’t know the answer to this question, I strongly suggest you keep reading!
In addition to your coursework and grades, it is very important you have these qualities as a candidate.
Become A Leader Being a leader takes a lot of courage. No matter how small, try your best to become a leader in whatever you are doing. Leading a group helps improve your communication and problem solving skills. My first experience as a leader was back when I was in Nigeria and served as class prefect (for my readers outside Nigeria, it is equivalent to class president.) Back then, if the whole class misbehaved, the class prefect got punished. Oh, the good ol’ days. Being a leader definitely instilled the sense of responsibility and caring for others. Even at the tender age of 11, I learned how to communicate with both teachers and my fellow classmates. Taking up leadership positions portrays that you are able to deliver and execute a vision. And to be a leader, you don’t need to have an official position, you just need to be passionate and trust me, everyone will see you as one.
Get Involved! I know you have heard this countless times, but an ideal candidate is one who well rounded and involved in their community. It’s unfortunate that people get so caught up trying to complete assignments and passing exams while community service is equally important. There are two things that community service has taught me: selflessness and how to have fun. Giving back to my community is very fulfilling to me and I feel like I am making an impact on the world. It also gives you the freedom to choose whatever you are passionate about and serves as an escape from all that school work. If you like soccer, volunteer to be a coach for little kids. If you love to travel, take advantage of service trips to under served communities. If you love to teach, try tutoring at your local primary school.
Willingness to Learn There has always been this misconception with grades landing you a job. While grades play a big role in the hiring process, it is important to note that a GPA of 4.0 doesn’t guarantee that you will be the greatest performer at your job. The bottom line is, GPA only tell people if you can learn. Yeah, that’s right. It tells the recruiter that if I study a couple of chapters in a book, I am willing to go home, study, do homework and excel on the exam. The important part of that is, you did your due diligence. Companies are looking for people who are willing to learn and execute just like you did in school. If you are given a task, are you willing to seek out your resources? Are you will to ask the right questions? Are you willing to put in the long hours to complete it? That’s exactly what they are looking for in an ideal candidate!
All these qualities will build character and strengthen your interpersonal skills. While some of these qualities cannot be clearly displayed on your resume, it is important that your previous experience reflects the skills the company is looking for. So part of being an optimum candidate is having experience. Read Your CV Speaks article to find out more about how to best present your experience on your resume.
Personally, I have used these qualities and it has worked for me. Through out college, I had mentors who reiterated the importance of these qualities and how it applies to the work environment. As contemporary African women growing our careers abroad and in Africa, I am almost certain these qualities will help you excel in your respective professions. If you have other experiences or think I missed something, feel free to share below:)
PICTURE SOURCE: PINTEREST