How to launch a career in a sluggish job market.

Campus Journos

Globally weak economy, sliding Rupee, high inflation, policy paralysis, upcoming elections, etc, etc have slowed the growth in India and there are clear signs and forecasts that macro-economic outlook and GDP growth for 2014 will remain modest if not weak. Companies therefore, will be cautious in 2014 and are likely to focus more on managing and controlling costs as opposed to making big investments. As a result, hiring forecasts for 2014 might remain weak. Wise and progressive companies will continue to “invest cautiously” in hiring fresh engineering and MBA talent, however, there will be an unfavorable effect on the Engineering and MBA talent pool graduating in the summer of 2014.

How to best handle your career take-off in a sluggish job market, wherein fewer good opportunities will present themselves and chances of getting your dream job may not be that bright?

I have seen this about three times earlier in the past 24 years of my career where a major economic crisis has affected the fresh graduates (from a career take-off point of view). I have also learnt and observed how; some very smart students have dealt with it effectively. Based on my observations and experience, my 5 point advice is as follows:

1)      Don’t blame or doubt yourself and stay positive: It’s important to understand that this situation is not your creation and you are just a little bit unlucky to be graduating in these tough times. Stay emotionally strong and keep smiling. If you didn’t get a Pre-placement Offer or Pre-placement Interview from the organization where you interned as an MBA student this year – don’t get negative or cynical about that organization. In fact, thank that organization for what you learnt there and build and maintain good relations. Coz when the tough times are over that same organization could re-consider you. Most important when you are being hired by another company, your references will be checked with the company you interned in!!

 “Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here.” – Donald Trump

2)      Re-set and refine your goals and objectives: If you are amply clear that your dream job in your dream company isn’t going to happen – then re-configure your near term goals and objectives and identify and prepare yourself for the next best thing that’s possible and is lurking as an opportunity. Very important to have a Plan-B and more important to activate it.

“Re-setting goals and objectives doesn’t mean you are compromising with your vision and aspiration, in fact it means you are committed to achieving it” – iYash

3)      Don’t depend on your campus placement process alone: I have often said this before, the controlled and traditional methods of placing MBA students by running a campus placement process which is managed by a body of students and the school management is a big deterrent to the students prospects – coz, bright students are robbed of their choices and are forced into accepting offers from limited choice for the sake of placing other weaker students. Also the Indian MBA School’s campus placement process is not designed for sluggish times. It’s a socialist approach to ensure that everyone gets a job (assuming many companies are out there wanting to recruit from that campus) and then the college can boast of a placement record, instead of boasting of a top-class learning environment. Anyways, don’t depend on it and challenge it and change it, if you can!!

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit

4)      Leverage Social Media: Be present on Social Media Platforms, especially the ones that are used by companies to identify and recruit talent. My top three platform recommendations are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Make good profiles and be present on them with the objectives of connecting, sharing and learning. In addition leverage on the connections you have already built with executives and friends you have made in the corporate world and seek their help in sighting and applying for the right opportunities.

“Social media is your opportunity to reach a massive number of people with transparency, honesty, and integrity.” – Brian E. Boyd Sr., Social Media for the Executive

5)      Value what you get: Whatever opportunity you land up with – value it and give your best to the company that hires you, work hard and learn. If you don’t value what you get and keep thinking about why you didn’t get what you sought dearly, it won’t help. There is nothing such as a second grade organization. Leaders, employees and their values make an organization and if you are going to be one of them, then make it a top-notch company. Work with total commitment and passion and you won’t go wrong in making a career!!

“Anyone can dabble, but once you’ve made that commitment, your blood has that particular thing in it, and it’s very hard for people to stop you.”- Bill Cosby

Wishing all the MBA students on Indian campuses (who will graduate in 2014) all the very best and now that you are experiencing the real world and its challenges, I would encourage you have a constructive conversation with your junior batch students and share with them your wisdom and importance of summer internships, which they are seeking right now for the summer on 2014. Most points mentioned above are applicable to them as well.

“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” -Joshua J. Marine

8 thoughts on “How to launch a career in a sluggish job market.

  1. Awesome article Yash. I really liked your thought on “Value what you get”. I have seen that many a times people become cynical about their employers/workplace. It is important that if we want to see a positive change in our ecosystem, we ourselves become a change agent rather than cursing the employer or the people around us.

  2. Very good article Yash. Very insightful, as always. I would add an extra point: 6) Expand Your Horizon. The world is not limited to your geography, especially if you are still young and have limited family responsibilities. Different markets could be looking for profiles similar to yours. Companies often value people that are willing to explore outside their comfort zone…and definitely value people that have built intercultural competence and understand the local context of different markets.

  3. These are coming at an appropriate time, recently heard sentiments of the students from Symbiosis and would surely share with them. I agree to Guillaume Gevrey POV about “Expand Your Horizon” and simultaneously recollect Girish Kohli’s article in People Matter “The Future is Yours’ if You Believe in it “

  4. Lovely article, Yash. There is so much depth in it. I stand on the cross-roads of passing from a b-school and your article strikes a direct connection as most of us are really engrossed with issues like slump in market, internship expectations. A brilliant piece of advice and a way forward for the whole student community 🙂

  5. Excellent article Yash! The expectation that colleges will become ” job delivery centres” is well demystified, specially when students come with an attitude of entitlement.
    I will add one more point – get a reality check , specailly when students read about the big fat pay cheque jobs through campus placements, and believe that this is all pervasive. There are no low hanging fruits.

  6. Dear Mr. Mahadik,

    Thank you for this note.

    No doubt very motivating, also I realize the measures mentioned are meant for fresh graduates. However, I find these measures would motivate those who are experienced also as they also are facing the burnt of the market situation and are striving for the growth they have intended for. We can always look behind and say that its better then what we have seen in 2008-09.

    Thank you again.

    Warm regards

    Sudip Bhattacharjee

    Manager BD

    Description: cid:image001.gif@01CDC8E0.C5DA25D0

    Savills HR Solutions

    +91-9873322492

    Regards

    Sudip

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