I know that this doesn’t seem to add up. Jobs are scarce. Good, skilled people are also scarce.
But, it is true! If you speak to recruiters, they will tell you that it is very difficult to find good people. I remember that at an event hosted by the Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) in 2017, the then chief executive officer of Lilongwe Water Board, Engineer Alfonso Chikuni alluded to the scarcity of good staff in his presentation on water challenges and solutions in Lilongwe.
He emphasised that to find good people to employ is difficult. He also stated that for the same reason, the good staff easily get other opportunities.
Now, if you talk to many people who are looking for jobs or those who are employed but looking for better jobs, they will tell you that there are no jobs out there! The two sides do not seem to reconcile! Employers say there are ‘no people’ out there. But, employees and potential employees say there are no jobs out there. What they really mean is ‘good people’ and ‘good jobs.’
As we have stated many times under this column, every problem provides an associated opportunity. This dichotomy is a big opportunity for those looking for good jobs. Knowing that employers complain that they cannot easily find good people is good news for those eager to seize this opportunity. This is a good starting point for self-promotion. However, the next step is more difficult and more critical.
You need to figure out what is it that employers or recruiters are looking for but they cannot find in most candidates? Be very candid, objective and open as you take in and list those gaps. That is a good beginning for you to position yourself to become one of the few lucky people that can jump from one good job to the next great and next greater job in a controlled fashion.
Once you have listed the gaps between the employers’ view and that of the employees, you now need to develop a personal plan to close those gaps so that you can become the winner or beneficiary of this dichotomy. When you are doing this task, always remember that there are the hard skills that employers require but also the many soft skills that they look for. You need to have good technical skills that are specifically needed to do your job.
At the same time, you will need the soft skills that are generic to many jobs. These are things like good attitude, team player, communication skills, being organised and so on. You have to strike the right balance on both sides.
You now need a mechanism for monitoring your progress against the plan for closing those gaps. It may help if you get a friend or your mentor to help you periodically review your progress against this plan. On your own, you may lose track, you may lose momentum or you may not be as sincere or objective with yourself. You might tend to be too soft on yourself, or even too harsh! Another person helping you monitor your progress would be very helpful.
Of course, another side to this is the skills needed to win the interview itself. This was a subject that we dwelt on for a few weeks a couple of months ago. But, excelling in the interview is not adequate without having the required skills and experience. You need good skills and great experience which you can then sell well in the interview room for you to grab a good job.
What we are doing here in Rise and Shine is to give you a holistic 360 degree package that helps you excel by running far ahead of your peers and competitors in this highly competitive world. Good luck as you work to exploit the dichotomy of scarcity of good jobs and good people! All the best as you work to rise and shine!