How do you measure your employability
Employability is defined as the ability and capacity to gain and maintain employment and obtain a new employment at any point in time. Whether you’re fresh out of school or in active employment, you have to constantly measure your employability at every point in time. There are a few indicators to measure this. For example, are you constantly getting messages from recruiters on job sites like Jobberman or Linkedin? Do you get a call up for an interview for every application you sent? Are you constantly getting referral calls on jobs openings? Congrats if you answered yes to any or all of the above. In these tough economic times, everyone should aim to make themselves as employable as possible, and the following points will help you achieve that.
1. Take up projects:
Projects are a way of getting practical experience. Projects don’t necessarily have to be directly related to your field. They could just be hobbies or volunteer work. For graduates, if you’re a computer science student, participate in tech fests or “hackathons’ that happen around the country. Social science students can take up social intervention projects that may be volunteer-related or not-for-profit. Professors do carry out research projects all the time. Assist them. These projects are a way to apply classroom learning to real-life situations.
Those in active employment can negotiate their way to be involved in special projects undertaken by the company or enlist in departmental projects, whichever form they may take. Projects help you acquire other essential skills, like research, teamwork, organisation, projections and milestone, budgeting etc. Projects also have the tendency to push you out of your comfort zone, which is good for success in life.
2. Learn an extra language:
Ghana is bordered by 3 Francophone countries. It makes perfect sense that every Ghanaian should speak and write French. Unfortunately, a lot of people cannot go beyond “Bonjour’. Most multinational companies have a presence within the subregion. If you must learn a second international language, it is advisable to start out by learning French. With the proliferation of Chinese companies on the African continent, learning to speak and write Mandarin will immediately improve your employability with top Chinese/Asian companies coming into the country. Due to the Chinese move, banks are opening up special China/Asia Desks within corporate banking departments. These special desks are currently managed by expatriates. Learning either French or Mandarin will remarkably improve your employability and put you above the fold. There are a lot of free resources online for learning any language of your choice. Apps are also available in the various app stores for learning these languages.
3. Find a mentor:
A mentor is an experienced person in a chosen field who gives help and advice to a less experienced person. A mentor could be found at the workplace, in school, within the community you live or even online. The benefits of mentorship are numerous. You have the benefit of foresight so you can literally avoid the pitfalls along the way of your chosen career. Mentors generally also have a good network of other accomplished people so you could get exposure to the creme de la creme in your industry. There are also a lot of career mentor/coaches who could guide you on how to chart a professional path or career. Take advantage of free mentorship programs, or if you’re in active employment, invest in career coaching/counselling sessions in order to increase your employability.
4. Secure work experience or internship:
Internships are excellent opportunities for graduates to gain on-the-job experience. They also offer the opportunity to have a stint at corporate work, which can guide you to work on the essential corporate skills you may need to complement what you already have. Internships will also help you build important relationships, which can boost your employability in both short and long term.
5. Build and sustain professional networks:
As the saying goes, your network determines your net worth. This can’t be truer, especially in the corporate environment where access to top jobs are mostly referral driven and managed by a clique of corporate big shots. As it is commonly said in, it is no longer who you know, but who knows you. Building strong relationships should start in school, with your colleagues, lecturers, resource person who visit your department etc. The truth is, some of your colleagues will get ahead of you very quickly and will become heads of departments or institution within five years of graduating. Having these people within your circle can therefore tremendously boost your employability and get your foot in the right door when you need it.
6. Improve your business awareness:
Every business operates to make a profit, be it in hard cash or some other measure, such as saving lives or solving social issues. Most employers complain that graduates do not have enough business or commercial awareness. Business awareness is the ability to understand the business environment that a company operates, and the market conditions that affect the entire business. You don’t need an MBA to develop business awareness. Whether you are a journalist, a volunteer worker, an IT specialist or a human resource graduate, having a key understanding of the business industry that an organisation operates and key drivers of profitability are essential for success in today’s job. Reading industry magazines, listening to business news and attending industry seminars and workshops will greatly help in developing your business awareness skills. Additionally, acquiring this skill will boost your overall confidence, and create very warm impressions about your ability to perform on the job during an interview.
7. Learn how to code:
With the rise of automation and machine learning, most business processes are getting “coded”. Computers and software have completely taken over the office as essential tools. E-commerce and the internet have become the new market for all kinds of businesses. All these software and technologies are developed by software engineers and programmers. This is a skill in high demand and is growing by the day in Ghana and Africa. Unfortunately, our educational system continues to churn out graduates in the humanities and social sciences. This creates a huge gap in the IT and technical field. Learning how to code will make you very employable in today’s market. There are a lot of free resources on the internet for learning computer programming and coding.
There you have it. The message is simple: evolve or become obsolete. What other things are you doing to make yourself employable? Share in the comments.