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Updated: July 21, 2013 12:10 IST
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Know your job

Vikram Ramakrishnan
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Communication skills: What you have to say to potential employers is as important as how you say it. Photo: Ramesh Sharma
The Hindu Communication skills: What you have to say to potential employers is as important as how you say it. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

More than having soft skills, it is important for you to know the industry and understand what your job entails.

Only 20 per cent of India’s graduates are employable. The number is apparently even smaller for engineering graduates. A lot has been spoken and written about the lack of “soft skills” as the primary reason for this and many thousands of rupees spent in attempting to rectify the situation. But, there is one big factor that is as important if not more than soft skills in securing the job.

Saying it right

What you have to say to potential employers is as important as how you say it. If you have great soft skills (communication, team work, etc) but do not know the relevant information which is to be conveyed, you will end up looking ignorant. The information and knowledge expected by recruiters is different from what the syllabus includes.

Most people focus on soft and technical skills. But, what is it that really makes a candidate stand out when it comes to the interview? When you apply for a job, your employers are looking for the ideal candidate who possesses two fundamental characteristics — knowledge about the industry and an understanding of the job.

Understanding the industry starts with knowing the value chain of the particular sector and the different players/organisations involved. In the aerospace vertical, for example, what does Jet Airways or British Airways do? What does Boeing do? Who are the original equipment manufactures (OEMs) and who are the tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 suppliers? Where are they based? What are the key trends and important developments within this industry? These are critical aspects that the employer will expect you to know if you are looking for a role in their industry.

The second area of focus is the role that the candidate is looking for. Generically, roles can start from research and development, production planning, manufacturing, testing, marketing, sales and customer support. Within the same industry, one can look for any of the above roles. The choice of the role should be dependent on the skills that the candidate possesses. For example, for a research and development role, you require to have an in-depth understanding of the product. In sales or marketing, you need to have good communication skills for dealing with customers.

Once you have a good understanding of these areas, you can tailor your resume and approach to suit the requirements of the job you are applying to. This increases your chances of being shortlisted for interviews. You can also seek job opportunities on your own instead of relying only on career services in college.

During the interview, you can demonstrate that you really understand the nature of the industry, the challenges they are facing, etc. You can also show how your skill-set fits the role you are applying for. These aspects will make you stand out from the crowd and help you impress your employers and get that job.

The writer is director of Thinking Palm. Email: vikram@thinkingpalm.com

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