The rising gap between academia and industry has meant that recruiters are experiencing challenges identifying suitable matches from job prospects, despite the rising unemployment levels.
Accumulated work experience, a range of extra-curricular activities or personal initiatives, and proof of interest in a particular field or industry are increasingly becoming important.
This, therefore, means we have to be extremely proactive about boosting value-adds and regularly building CVs. I have learnt the hard way that achievements in your CV lose relevance at least every two years. So here are five ways to go about setting up a career development plan.
1. Endeavour to be a voice in an area you are passionate about
Settling for any employment opportunity or job for the sake of filling up your CV is not an option in the current economic times. We should commit ourselves to doing things that we love and are passionate about, and above that we should find a way to get ourselves noticed in this journey.
For example, if you love public speaking, why not run for a youth leadership role in your church? Or if you have an aptitude for marketing, why not blog about the topic and offer some valuable insights?
2. Direct your focus and efforts to a particular field or industry
I have been involved in many career discussions with colleagues and friends, and I have since realised that despite many of us taking advantage of employment opportunities that came our way and building some truly incredible CVs, many of us regret not gearing our CVs more towards a field or industry we wished to work in.
Currently, many employers aren’t just looking for skills, knowledge and experience; they’re looking for tangible proof that you have a passion for a respective career line.
The greatest lesson I have learnt is that this is a personal responsibility. We should be proactive about this, attend talks and conferences if (and when) we can.
Attend events being hosted in your line of interest or join associations with like-minded people.
3. Strive to be of value
Take time to get some rest, but do not waste unemployment periods or school breaks. Instead, use the time to learn a new skill or volunteer or take on a project that interests you. This is a great way to discover your real potential, purpose and ability for self-development and growth.
4. It’s never too late
No matter what level you are at on your career ladder, it’s never too late to rediscover your value. Start evaluating your strengths and abilities and bank on these to bounce you off to the next level or your purpose in life.
5. Trust a higher power
One of my greatest regrets from my days in university was trying to always figure things out on my own and thinking that I am in control.
Look at the nature all around you, the birds in the air, the sky up high, the size of the sun, the vegetation, the wind… I can go on and on. There is no doubt that there is a higher power all around us. Let this be an anchor and source of direction for your life.