According to National Employability Report published by Aspiring minds, close to 80% of graduates from engineering and technology streams are not employable today in the current market. This is a significant gap in the current education system and industry requirements.
While the reasons could be myriad for this, as a student one should focus on what are the parameters on which employability is determined and ensure that you as a student have worked on all these parameters on your own and become employable by the time you graduate from the college.
This post is to help you understand on what parameters, employability factor is determined and how you can improve on all these parameters so that you fall into the employable bucket and not the other one.
In general, employability is not a factor of just your academic qualification. There are several other areas that count towards it. And these can be broadly classified into academic, technical and personal. Each area can be further broken down to sub skills.
For example, personal skills further drill down to soft skills, problem solving and leadership and adaptability skills. Let's get down to each individual item and explore what a student can do in each of these areas.
Plain and simple, these are your marks and grades you achieve in your examinations while at college. However, once you graduate, there are several non-technical certifications one can keep adding to his or her portfolio to indicate you are a lifelong learner and understand the theoretical and foundation concepts well. For now, as a student you can just focus on your syllabus and understand things more from a learning perspective than from results perspective. Once you graduate and become a professional in a line, then you can explore more ways to add academic skills to your resume.
These skills are purely dependent on the career path you choose and the role you want to get into. Once you identify these two, you must narrow down on the list of skills you should acquire based on your inquiry with your alumni, friends and family. Idea here is to portray yourself as a industry ready professional who does not need to be trained on the basic skills and can put you on engagements from the get go. With MOOCs (Massive online open course) gaining prominence, acquiring technical skills has never been easier and most of the times can be done for free as well.
This category is one of the easiest to understand and hardest to acquire. But if you do things right at the right time, these can be a deal breaker in helping you accelerate in your career and life. Before we get to the laundry list of what these skills are, you should note that, these skills are not knowledge based that one can read and learn from books and acquire them. These are attitude based, that get imbibed in your personality and shape your character and can only be acquired if you deeply believe in these values and practice them continuously with much of self-discipline. The skills can be broadly classified into interpersonal, communication, adaptability, creativity and problem solving.
Interpersonal skills comprise of your ability to work with other people, work in teams and how you contribute to the success of a team and in turn company. It also includes how you persuade someone, influence them, motivate them, both through your personal interactions and written communications. These can only be developed through practice and positive mindset. Identify your biases and practice having an open mindset. Participating in all the group activities that you get an opportunity at while in college and outside your college is the best way to acquire these. Always work on gathering feedback from your peers, superiors and be open to acknowledge and learn from it.
Having the right intent on your mind is one thing but articulating that in the right manner so that the intent is communicated the way it is supposed to be is another thing. This includes your speaking and writing skills. Work on your stage fears and communication flow. Join a Toastmasters club near you, write copy for any opportunity you may have and polish these skills.
Organizations prefer individuals who take the least possible time to get integrated into a team and start contributing. These include understanding the organization structure, culture and domain as soon as one can. You can do this by consciously thinking and asking as many questions at the early on as possible.
Creativity and Problem solving:
These are difficult things to learn and acquire explicitly and hard to measure. My personal experience has been to take the saying "necessity is the mother of innovation" to your heart and place yourself in such situations where there is a constant necessity for different goals but limited resources.
These are the best situations to learn from on how you can use these limited resources and accomplish what you need to. And that is nothing but developing your brand for both creativity and problem solving in one go.
Now that you got a glimpse into what makes an individual more employable versus others, start focusing on these skills and zoom in your way to success. Good Luck.