Employability is an economic qualification that any of us (actually any economic entity) should have to be an active part of the economy. It is equally applicable if you are self-employed or in a non-for-profit set up or a classical corporate job. We have tried to capture the multi-dimensionality of the construct to sensitize the current and future employees by way of creating an A to Z of employability. While we have made a choice among the most relevant trait for a particular letter, we are by no way claiming that any other trait starting with the same letter is not important. Also, a variation of the trait that you might find relevant for a particular letter might be represented by some other letter in our lexicon. We hope to keep updating this list as we get feedback from you all for the same.
A is for Aims & Ambition
Having optimism for your career, dreaming about being a success and working hard to make that dream come true is what gives career a meaning. When you face challenges it would remind you why you’re doing this and what it will be like when you get to the top. Your goals need to be tough but achievable. Struggling with impossible goals that cannot be achieved will not build resilience. You need to see a consistent progress towards your goal in return for the strain involved.
B is for Basics
Remember whatever levels your reach, the basics never change. Be it asking the basic questions, making the basic assumptions or remembering the basic rules, they apply to all situations. Keep refining your basic skills like literacy, numeracy, listening, intuitions, and mentoring etc. Make sure that you never forget the basics because it is the most fundamental skills that you have.
C is for Conviction
To move successfully into a career you need to believe in yourself, your capability and your ability to make things happen. In essence, you need to know you can make it a success whatever happens. No-one is going to be totally self-confident all the time. As a very successful business man once said “If things are going really well you can’t get overexcited because you’re not a genius; but if things get difficult you can’t get too downhearted because you’re not a fool either.” Remember you will only find your conviction within yourself.
D is for Dare
Dare to aspire to whatever heights you wish and let no-one tell you that you can’t achieve the impossible as it is simply beyond them and their mindset not yours! To make a success of career you need the courage to do more than what you think you are capable of doing. There is no challenge in being average and so there are no rewards for it either. You will need to learn to lean on all the support from people close to you who can help you through the tough times. Don’t try and build external safety nets and fall back options, your career has to be your safety net and you can only thrust forward with it.
E is for Enthusiasm
As a young professional the organization expects you to be a source of boundless enthusiasm. When you’re employed, you’re a critical source of energy for your firm. You need lots of energy within yourself. You must have the energy to be self-starting, self-inspired & self-enhancing. Your vivacious and exciting persona is a value that your superiors and contemporaries would surely appreciate. You will need to consciously replenish your faith so that when going gets tough you find your inspiration and ability to bounce back and keep the enthusiasm. You also need to keep a good control on your enthusiasm and remember you can’t replace your professional role with enthusiasm.
F is for Flexibility
Research shows that people who are successful in careers are flexible & resilient when the going gets tough. Inevitably, there are pressures associated with your career which would seem like making a compromise. If you are inflexible, these pressures lead to worry and anxiety which in turn reduce the drive to keep going. Flexibility also gives you the window to peep in and give you facts to decide whether you want to accept the change or is it truly a compromise. Flexibility is also the starting point of resilience which is a critical to keep pushing on the progress path.
G is for Group effectiveness
Remember that all through your career you are a part of a team that jointly works towards producing results. You are only as good as the weakest member of your group. Your output would be hugely dependent on the ability of the most inefficient person to deliver for the team. When you start your focus should be to ensure that you are not bringing the effectiveness of your group down. As you move up in your career, remember all the mentoring and support you received when you were learning and extend higher support to the newer members of your team.
H is for Hard Work
Success takes hard work. To accomplish your aspirations in a career there’s only you who you can bank on, you have responsibility for everything and have to take on tasks that you once considered well beneath your status. Since you’re always in charge, there’s no deferring and you can often be torn between priorities and juggling the many factors beyond your control. People who make a success of a career are motivated to work hard. They know what they really want out of life, they’ve identified that employment will help them achieve it and they’re prepared to put in the necessary effort to make it happen.
I is for Inspired Spirit
In the early days of career and working with many people, you might struggle to adjust to the office environment and people around you. You need to build around you a group of like-minded people who are in a similar position to you who you can socialize and interact with. And those interactions don’t have to be face to face. With the wonderful technology now available to us, it’s never been easier to engage with others no matter where they are. You would require all your imagination, inspiration to ensure that all your interactions are worthwhile and create long term value for you.
J is for the Journey
When you’re starting up on your career, you are embarking on a long journey. While it’s important to have a destination, focusing on it can have the opposite effect to the one you’re trying to achieve. It can seem such a far way off that it paralyses and demotivates you. So don’t worry about the big picture for now. Instead, think about what would be different if you were just one step closer and what you need to get there. Keeping your focus on the journey would make the experiences apparent and help you learn from them and enjoy them.
K is for keeping focus
You have to be very clear right from the start on what is your target market is and what you are offering them and avoid the temptation to be all things to all people or what people want you to be. The challenge is not about lack of value that you could offer. Instead it is about finding something that you love doing, are skilled at and that others will pay you for and that can involve a fair bit of letting go of things that you could do and used to do.
L is learning orientation
That means that self-development has to become a constant element. Nurture relationships with mentors. Surround yourself with other people who are successful and respected in their own careers. Apart from helping with the occasional lack of social contact, only they understand what you are going through and will be more than happy to share their personal stories of having traveled the employment journey themselves, the barriers they’ve encountered and how they’ve kept going! The work you do to continually develop your knowledge and skills will determine your employability and how marketable your skills are.
M is for moral values
In an employment you need to remember that you are most often working on behalf of people who have trusted you with their valuable resources. Keeping this trust and ensuring that you maintain highest standards of ethics and moral conduct is critical. There would be times when opportunism might seem like a natural choice and you could even see a clear get away without being caught in the act; however, your efficiency and commitment would be surely compromised and in the long run, you will see the value of maintaining ethics.
N is for Network
Networking and relationship building is part and parcel of being employed. It’s not just an element in working; it’s one of the requisite skills to ensure success. If you don’t enjoy networking, then the quality of your work will be lower and less healthy than it should be and you will feel rather lonely and left out in the business world.
O is for Overtness
Be ready and willing to be open and observable; not hidden, concealed, or secret outsource to others the things that they can do better than you. If you are really bad at something in the long list of things that need to be done to be successful or if it’s something you really don’t want to do, get help from someone who’s good at it. It’s better to get the basics right and then coordinating with the team to ensure that the output is not compromised.
P is for Positive Attitude
Being employed can be very rewarding but also very sapping. You need to stay positive, keep your focus on the good and not get too caught up with the bad. Learn from your mistakes but sustain the belief in yourself and what you have to offer. This means picking yourself up after challenging times, being determined to win through and having the tenacity to keep going when you may feel like giving up. Positive emotions and a positive outlook are very powerful in producing an upward, positive spiral of achievement. It would also make you the respected buddy among your peers.
Q is for Quality
Above everything else you need to deliver a great product and service. You don’t need to be unique in your offering; you simply need to be better than anyone else at delivering it. Make sure that you keep highest standards of perfection and do not willingly deliver or accept suboptimal output. However, you will need to be productive at the same time. Learn to ensure that you follow the path of excellence and in the quest for quality, learn to work around the oversights and errors,
R is for Return
Remember the primary motivation for your career is the returns – financial and non-financial. The same should translate to all the activities that you undertake as a professional. Be generous in putting the efforts but build a sense of return on efforts for everything that you do. Build your own list of rewards that would keep you motivated. Besides monetary, it could be recognition, comfort, personal space, self-realization and social contribution.
S is for Self-Awareness
When you’re employed you need sufficient self-awareness to know what to do to set yourself up for success. It is about making decisions that allow you to meet the needs of your clients and perform at your very best. That means knowing how to manage your energy levels, knowing where your skills and talents lie and knowing what support and resources you need to do a good job.
T is for Transformation
Many people who start up on their career do not have the plan to transition into a role from a student, and then to transform from an entry level executive to a corporate leader. The thing to remember is that there is a lot to do to get into the shoes of a responsible, respected and rewarding career professional. The more you can do and prepare for before the actual move, then the better position you’ll be in.
U is for Unique Talents
To have a sustained success in your career, you need to have a unique value proposition. That means you need that special quality, that X factor that means when people have a problem that you can solve, you are the name that comes to mind or gets recommended to them. What stands you apart from the crowd? Reflect on the skills, knowledge and experience you have gained. It is worth asking your friends, family and colleagues for their feedback on this. Quite often our unique talents come so naturally to us without conscious effort that we don’t realize they’re talents.
V is for Vision
Research shows that people who are successful in their careers have a clear vision for what they want to achieve both commercially and personally. In other words they know what the skills to work on, to which sector and to which geographical markets to concentrate on. They also know what is important to them as individuals and what personal success looks like.
W is for Wisdom
One of the most critical components for career growth is to accumulate one’s own wisdom. Wise men do not achieve enlightenment in a single moment but through a painful process of accumulating wisdom from their personal and shared experiences. Be active and responsive to your experiences. Learn to listen intently and take time to reflect upon your experiences, seek counsel for the ambiguities and questions that you cannot answer for yourself. If possible maintain a personal blue book of success mantras that is applicable to you.
X is for eXcellence
Sustained pursuit of excellence is the fundamental mindset that would take you from a college graduate to a corporate leader of repute. Remember this is a long continuous journey drawing on foresight, application, and commitment. Set for yourself marginal achievable progress and improvement targets and commit wholeheartedly to accomplish them. You might not feel immediately how you are setting yourself apart from the crowd, but when you look back into your past, you will understand your accomplishment. The corporate world would surely notice your orientation and reward you for it.
Y is for Your (personal) Life
When you become employed your personal life and your work life become blurred, especially early in your career. You need periods of respite. One of the most challenging things for people dedicated to their career is the pressure to work all the time. Such attitudes are unhelpful and counter-productive – both in the immediate term and in the long term. Tough challenges will build resilience but only if they don’t go on too long. So you need to take regular breaks. This simply needs to be something different. Shutting your mind at he the end of the day is critical – but do relook at your interests that you had to ignore when you were going through the pressures of study – bring out your stamp collection or your bird book or the camera. You now have the money to fund them better.
Z is for Zeal
To make a success of a career you need to have huge servings of zeal, not only for the work you do but for turning it into a long term goal. You need a passion that can stimulate self-motivation and give you a reason to get up in the morning and go to work – even if it is not done at the most exciting place of work. If you’re passionate about what you do you’ll find it easier to ride the waves of change and keep going when starting out. You’ll also find that others will be attracted to your zeal and will be more likely to help you make your career a success.