Ask any student, about their future option and pat comes the reply, ‘to secure my dream job’!
In spite of the market on a downward swing, the Sultanate of Oman is still one of the better placed economies not only in the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC), but also amongst the the developed economies.
Thanks for the farsightedness of the visionary, His Majesty and his team of administrators. In such a scenario it is apt to understand the opportunities being offered, in the form of challenges, especially to the students pursuing different programs from different colleges and universities of the Sultanate. The solid fundamentals the economy of Sultanate offers the employers (private as well as public) to continue with their recruitment plans, with minor modifications, as the country as a whole is having minimal impact from the global recession.
Being a management teacher, I am able to see the possibility of the Omanisation dream of His Majesty, reaching its ultimate destination of cent percent Omani, grabbing the best openings, albeit with little more effort from the teacher-student duo. The article tries to throw light on aspects which the students need tos consider so as to groom themselves in acquiring their dream job, after completing various professional and vocational programs. Although the steps mentioned many not be the thumb-rule, they can still go a long way in making the students employable with leading organizations of the Sultanate.
(1) Dream big, but with a focus
It is always better to dream big, especially if one is willing to reach the pinnacle of his/her life. It’s a known fact that those who have reached the crescendo of their careers always had a big vision, a commensurate mission, objectives, goals and plans so that the career curve is smooth and one can effectively plan and optimize the resources to make the maximum out of them. Sounds simple, however to chalk out a career plan calls for lot of introspection on the part of the aspirant with active support from a team of mentors and counselors! Moreover, in the age of information, it is not difficult for the aspirant to dream big especially when information is available at the click of a mouse. The horizon of ones dream can widen only if the information is gathered, scanned and analyzed, before deciding on the career path. For instance a student pursuing higher diploma in business studies with a specialization in human resources will only think that he has to join the HR domain, however, the reality is that, he can join many other functional areas as companies today work in an integrated fashion, and on the top of it prefer proverbial jacks, rather than masters, so that they have flexible manpower ready to take up any challenges. Dreaming big therefore has to be focused, rather than one on the air.
(2) Ground work
The dream can be achieved only if it is not hollow. In order to ensure that the dream is not a castle in the air the aspirant has to do adequate ground work, which means aligning the dream and the roadmap associated with it along with other aspects, like the academic credentials, extra-curricular expertise, linguistic skills, soft skills blended with hard skills, technical know-how to name a few. The ground work comprises of gathering professional acumen while pursing the program, be it certificate, diploma, higher diploma or degree, irrespective of the stream. The ground work decides whether the dream one had made would be fulfilled or not, as this is the time when the actual effort required for fulfillment comes to the fore.
In most of the cases of shattered dream it is the lack of ground work, culminating in the aspirant unable to reach the point of glory. This definitely requires handholding from many stakeholders, in the form of mentors (can be teachers and parents), counselors (professional career guides or industry professionals working in the same vertical where the candidate wishes to make a career) and the like.
Continuous updating of information is vital as whatever was contemporary yesterday, may be obsolete today. For example, a student pursuing higher diploma in management with a specialization in human resource may consider recruitment to be the key, whereas the organization may feel retention to be of more importance, especially when the situation is grim like the present day scenario. Likewise common perception may consider downsizing to be the right ammunition during slowdown where companies may prefer rightsizing.
Sectoral study, in line with the sector, one is willing to join is of importance where the aspirant needs to track the developments happening in the local, regional and global landscape. Someone willing to joining the banking sector should track Bank Muscat, Bank Dhofar, Bank Sohar, Arab Oman Bank, along with global players like Citibank, HSBC, to know how different players are adapting to the same situations, their style of functioning, organizational culture, leadership etc.. This can happen only if the appetite for gathering knowledge is made part of the routine career moves made by the aspirant as part of his/her academic and extra-curricular developments. It’s the ground work which forms the foundation for the sky scrapper in the form of the dream job. The stronger is the foundation; stronger would be the dream and its successful completion.
(3) Imbibing the skill-sets
Different jobs require, different skill sets, and therefore one size fits all in making oneself job-worthy cannot be a career strategy. Someone willing to join Oman air as commercial staff has to imbibe different professional expertise than the peer who is willing to join Galfar engineering. Even a third character willing to join Oman air as cabin crew would supplement his personality with different skill sets than the one who is joining the same organization as a commercial staff. The aspirant while pursuing the same academic program has to have a different, customized approach commensurate with his career plan.
Blindly following the roadmap of the class friend would lead nowhere as everyone has a different career plan and more than that everyone is as different as chalk and cheese, especially when it comes to the personality trait. Language skills, technical skills, soft skills, hard skills, computer literacy may be required in all professions; however their proportion and form would vary from one profession to another. It is there fore important for an aspirant to incorporate the right skill-sets in the required proportion at the right time.
(4) The right attitude
Someone rightly said that, ‘attitude measures the altitude’. In a modern day working environment where the competition is so stiff and that survival of the fittest is the key, organizations looks for employees who have the right attitude. A prospective employee may lack the domain knowledge, however if he/she has the right attitude, then the domain knowledge can be ingrained in the form of training and developmental activities. Someone who has the willingness to learn can also be excused for small flaws they encounter while doing their work, on the contrary arrogant and over confident persona is a strict no-no for all good employers, as bad attitude has a cascading effect on the workplace.
Organizations today considers human element as a long term asset, so a company is ready to go the extra mile in fine-tuning his/her abilities so as to make him/her attuned with the changing scenario. This would not be possible if the employee has a rigid and steadfast personality and is resistant to change. Building up the right attitude is challenging and one has to have learning, unlearning and relearning attitude and should also open self to constructive criticism from his/her peers, teachers, parents and other well wishers.
(5) Making the right moves at the right time
They say ‘opportunity knocks only once, so one should grab it by both hands’. Similarly for aspirants, every point offers him/her an opportunity to grow in life, whether it is part of a classroom discussion, pursuing an On the Job Training in a company, working on an assignment, making a class presentation and the like. All these are the sequential opportunities, which would lead the aspirant towards the glory. In other words an aspirant should consider these as stepping stones towards success. There is no fun in crying over spilt milk, therefore it is important for a career aspirant to understand that the learning opportunities they are exposed to at the present moment, may never come back, once this time fades away.
The right beginning in the right direction with the right mindset and inputs is half the battle won. It is important for all Omani aspirants to understand the importance of knowing oneself in terms of their strengths and build upon them, overcome the weaknesses, seize the opportunities offered by the career environment and the threats posed by the competition, so that they can alter themselves in time, to reach that moment of truth of securing their dream job. It is ideal to make the most when the surrounding offers lot of promises.