Employers in many of the job advertisements I have seen lay emphasis on work experience of between 2 years and more. The work experience focus puts a higher premium on the level of the job advertised and may then progress it further from 2 years to 10 years respectively. This approach and disposition renders fresh graduates from tertiary colleges and universities irrelevant and not fit for these positions. The same graduates have these days resorted to internship, clerkship and apprenticeship to make up for the employers demand of work experience but still not considered as formal employment and therefore counts for zero.
The employers prefer the plug and use employees. The thinking behind this consideration is that these lot requires no on-job training because they have already travelled the said road; they are not fellows to start from zero climbing up, and reduces time and cost that may be attached to preparing a complete new employee from not grasping work around the company to a point of use.
Having spent over 30 years evaluating and tracking executives and studying the factors in their performance, I now consider transferable skills to be the most important predictor of success at all levels, from junior management to C-suite and the board.Transferable skills are areas of development that are transferred from one environment to another such as home, school, work, volunteerism, or extra-curricular activities. They can be used in many different environments, across occupations, regardless of the type of work.
The transferable skills start from one’s childhood, early schooling and grounding, learning the value of teamwork by the sports they play, developing presentation skills or countless other skills while completing coursework in college, and university. Each of these experiences lays groundwork for building additional skills.Transferable skills supplement one’s degree qualification and provide concrete evidence of one’s readiness and qualifications for a position. Transferable skills can be divided into three subsets: working with people; working with things; and working with information and data.
For example, some transferable skills can be used in every workplace setting (e.g., organizing or public speaking) while some are more applicable to specific settings (e.g., drafting or accounting). Working with people for instance may include: selling, training, teaching, supervising, organizing, soliciting, motivating, mediating, advising, delegating, and entertaining. Working with things may include repairing, assembling parts, designing, operating machinery, driving, maintaining equipment, constructing, building, sketching, working with computer-aided design (CAD), keyboarding, drafting, surveying and troubleshooting whereas working with data or information may include calculating, developing databases, working with spreadsheets, accounting, writing, researching, computing, testing, filing, sorting, editing, gathering data, analyzing, and budgeting.
I once hired this candidate who had not worked exactly in the same position as the vacancy we were hiring for. He was in the midst of switching careers but he had the skill set we were looking for. I believed his entrepreneurial experience could easily transfer to corporate. Sadly today, I see a lot of qualified candidates being overlooked because they have not worked in a specific job function. I wish recruiters and hiring managers would be versed in identifying transferable skills, ingenuity, drive and potential. Many people cannot fit into the narrow parameters of a linear career history in a particular field. A candidate doesn’t have to tick every box in your checklist to be the best fit. A job can be learned. By being so inflexible and narrowly focused, many companies miss out on employees who are great team players, change agents, innovators and progressive thinkers. There are so many individuals in this situation which is a complete waste of talent!