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Be a problem solver: Letter to a first time job seeker

If you want a customer service job, you should know that hirers want someone who is smart enough to understand what the customer is asking for and is patient when dealing with them

education Updated: Dec 29, 2017 12:08 IST
Some skills though are always helpful no matter what the job is (say for 90% of the white collar jobs) – these are ability to write and speak English and ability to have a step by step approach to solving a problems.
Some skills though are always helpful no matter what the job is (say for 90% of the white collar jobs) – these are ability to write and speak English and ability to have a step by step approach to solving a problems.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Hi there,

Maybe you are in your final year, or perhaps you have just graduated. I am sure this phase is tough. I went through it many years ago. Leaving friends, a familiar place, the hostel - there are so many things you are leaving behind. However, you carry with yourself memories and relationships for a lifetime - thankful that you’ve completed your studies.

Now comes the tough part - getting a job. For some of you it will happen while in college, for a lot of you it will happen later. Will it happen when you are in college? That depends on your college actually; and the answer will vary depending on which college you attended. But if later, then when will it happen? The answer to this question depends on you. Entirely on you.

Taking this responsibility on your shoulders is the first step of the many steps that you will have to take to land a job. It is the most important step. You should accept that you have the biggest role to play in getting the job.

So let’s get started. I co-founded CoCubes with my college roommate 10 years ago. What we wanted to do was build a company that could connect the 10 million graduating students with companies in metros. Even the name CoCubes comes from the first two letters of three words, ‘Connecting’, ‘Colleges’ and ‘Companies’. Over the last 10 years I have met thousands of students and hundreds of placement officers, college owners and most importantly, corporate executives. And I haven’t met a single corporate that says – no I am not looking to hire good people. Everyone says – if you have a good person, we can hire her tomorrow!

Understanding ‘good’

So what do these corporates mean when they say ‘good’? I can tell you the answer to this question is also changing. It also changes depending on the industry the corporate operates in and the job role that you are applying for. If you are looking to be in customer service, then they are looking for someone who is smart enough to understand what the customer is asking for, kind enough to be patient with customers and hard working. If you are looking to be in coding then the company is looking for someone who can solve problems and knows at least one computer language. The reason I mention these examples is to tell you that the ‘good’ required changes depending on the job you are looking for. There is no universal ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Some skills though are always helpful no matter what the job is (say for 90% of the white collar jobs) – these are

• ability to read, write and speak English

• ability to follow a step by step approach to solving a problem – be that in coding or with a customer

• willingness to work hard

These three are essential in most jobs. You should ask yourself if you have these. Make a box and tick or cross it. And where you see a cross take first steps today to improve that.

Be the change

And don’t think too much about what the first step should be. Remember there are multiple paths to getting to the end. Reading improves English, so picking any book can help. Borrow an English grammar book from someone in Class 8. Use your phone and Google for answers. There are free and paid apps to help you. Practising speeches with friends and family; or in front of a mirror will improve your confidence. Remember there are multiple paths to improve yourself. You have to be willing to work hard to get there.

All the best. Start today.

The author is director, Aon CoCubes. Human capital and management consulting services firm Aon Hewitt acquired Gurgaon-based CoCubes Technologies Pvt Ltd in November 2016. CoCubes owns and operates online assessment and campus hiring platform CoCubes.com.