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Sunday, November 16, 2014

If you are from Tier 2/3 college, you need to develop Marketing and Sales Skill to influence the job-market

First-job choice ( choice of first job after graduating) is normally made by using one of the following methods: Listen to the gut, Find a job from the available choices or Follow the path of least resistance.

None of these methods is completely wrong, but neither any of the method is adequate. Amongst the three methods, the most popular method is the last one. In my estimates, it is used by almost 80% of the graduating community. Academically intelligent students use it to filter the best choice based on superficial parameters like salary and job location. While average and below-average students use it to pick the first available job that comes their way. Some even find a way to avoid job-market and do further education in a degree like MBA. 

You need both marketing skill and Selling skill to 'sell your credentials' in the job-market. I am assuming that you must have requisite the primary, secondary and ancillary cognitive skills to do the job.

Marketing Skill to influence the job-market 

A> Understand the buyer's preferences in getting a job ( in third year of graduation)

Job positions are determined by companies who employ you. These positions are therefore determined by the active and passive interaction of players in the job-market which include suppliers (colleges) Buyers (recruiting companies, big companies, small companies) and the availability of skilled individuals who seek job. In other words, you are just one of the minor participant in the job-market.You have to play by the rules of job market. And to do so, you must understand the rules of job market that are related to job-entry.

For instance, you must remember that buyers are influenced heavily by college names from where you have graduated, marks you have got, and the paths you have followed in your education. If you belong to less-known colleges, you have to do something 'extra' to get noticed even when you have got good marks. Many good graduates from less known Tier-2/3 colleges ignore this rule and expect quick response from companies to their resume.

For instance, if you are from Tier 1 college, you can wait for good bank employers to find a job. On the other hand, if you are a graduate from Tier 2 , you have to prepare a lot before approaching a bank: study the bank before approaching a bank, such as bank strengths, competitive position in the market, and so on

For instance, if you are from Tier 1 college looking for a joining a premium bank, you must do sufficient homework. For instance, you will have to start writing about 'banking' blog on web, do assignments for a bank if possible, work for a bank during summer holidays. If this is not possible, prepare a comparative analysis of banks based on last 3 years balance sheet. Find people in the bank with whom you can talk, understand about banking industry more thoroughly.

I have met many MBA students from Tier 3 colleges who refuse to do this preparation. They argue that other students from Tier 1 MBA colleges get a job without this preparation.

B> Prepare a good resume where you can lead the interview ( last year of graduation)

If you are prepared, you can write a good resume that will attract your employer. Because you have prepared in advance,  the resume helps you show your capability in a more varied ways.

Please remember resume is a document has two purposes. One it is meant to showcase your capabilities.Two, it can help you 'plant' the right questions so that you can 'lead' the interview in the direction you want. Here are some useful tips to design a resume that will help you get interviewed in the best possible way.

So remember that resume design will not help you get a job. Your resume should help you demonstrate your capabilities in the interview.

Selling skill to sell your credentials to the prospective employer

A> Apply to the chosen employers in the reverse order 

Do not apply to the best employer first. To get practice of giving interview, start from the least preferable employer. That will help you fine tune the process of answering questions and leading the interview more subtly. It will give you the necessary confidence to negotiate difficult questions and doubts of employers.

Applying to the bank through its website is easy but may not lead to desired response, if the bank is not looking for a position. In such situation, it is important to find names of important people in the bank, either through website or friends, and direct your application to the specific person in the company. Getting names from the past students and alumni is also a good idea.

B> Understand the background of the specific employer before giving that interview 

If you are prepared in step 1 and 2, you are intelligent enough to answer any question on your resume.

But this step is meant to help you differentiate from other aspirants. This is therefore very useful if you are from Tier 2/3 college. If you study the background of your specific employer before you go to the interview, you will be show your thoroughness and interest in the interview. You will also look more confident in the interview.

C> Have Plan B if Plan A does not work  

Despite all the work and effort, one may not get a job one desires. It is important to engage in a job even if one does not get the desired job position. Often graduates do not understand the importance of 'engaging' in a job and decide to 'study' further ( without knowing what to study) instead of finding another job position. A job engagement enables student to develop job-skills and more importantly gives him a lens to convert his cognitive abilities in useful cognitive job-skills. This learning can happen only if you work in a job. A footballer knows that a charity match is more important to develop his 'football' skills than just practicing more. Similarly, you must work in an actual job to develop your job-skills.

I have often advised graduates to take up an alternate job, even if it is not one of the first choices. For instance, i helped an Electronics engineering graduate take up a job in sales of a company making 'embedded electronic systems for security', although he was interested in 'product development'. That job helped him understand the market of embedded systems so well in a year, that he found the desired job in the best possible company after 18 months. Importance of sales position is not well understood by most of the graduates.

More importantly, when a graduate takes up such alternate position, which is not desirable, he has to actively draft a strategy of maximising his benefits. Otherwise, he may not get anything in the end other than salary.


Please remember marketing and selling skills to influence the job-market are necessary to get the first job after graduation for both graduates: Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 colleges.

Even graduates from Tier 1 college require this skill. Because, they face too many options. Because they have the opportunity to chose employers, they must find the right 'employer' that 'fits' their abilities. On the other hand, the graduate from Tier 2/3 colleges have few options to chose their employer. They have to use all the available skills to get the best employer before they approach the second-best employers.

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