Job Hops or lateral movements?

June 30th, 2010

Originally interested in a finance job, but struck in marketing profile! This may be the situation of many of those trying to get their foot in the door. There’s nothing wrong or right about a situation like this. Unless, as a young executive you fail to pick up the right kind of learning from any job.

As the rookies gradually gain experience from their first job, they learn more about their professional self than anything. It’s like a litmus test for all their strengths they vouched for during their interview process.

Though blessed are those who know what they want, for the rest who are standing at crossroads, their first jobs could be pretty much revealing.

I have noticed a lot many students unable to hold their first jobs for more than 3 months. The reason for each is different yet similar.

Thus I couldn’t help but ask my friend Satyendra K. Mallik, VP (HR & Planning), Infinity advertising Services pvt. Ltd, who is an advocate of Internal Job Postings (IJPs) for his take on fresher’s job hopping habits, lateral shifts and its vicissitudes.

Mallik declares its not experience which makes a person fit for a job.

True. As a beginner, it’s your involvement, your keenness, adaptability, ready to learn attitude and most of all, ones willingness to come out of the comfort zone that makes a person appropriate for any job.

Finding your field of interest can be a daunting task. And recruiters insist that one should be clear about the path right from the period of traineeship. Else, frequent job hunting reflects badly on the CV of a new professional as the person gets dubbed as someone who is not sure of what s/he wants.

Probably, the freshers may assume that they have the luxury of exploring, though a little reality check reveals that 80% of people land up in a job by chance and start finding that interesting and 20% land up by choice. Hence, the best way to inch closer to one’s interest would be via lateral movement through IJPs, job enrichment and turn key projects.

In fact, Mallik suggests that the best time for lateral movements are during the period of traineeship – here one gets oriented to different domains and tends to perform the best when it aligns with your area of interest. That’s when you really like doing a job.

However, at mid level managerial position – after establishing oneself as a domain expert and team manager, one can explore other domains, which are closer to the erstwhile domain.

While at senior level having varied experiences would be a big plus, but at junior level, it gives a sense that the person is indecisive.

There are obvious drawbacks to being in an experimental mode like this. Then, should it not be the HR’s responsibility to help the fresh executive to find his interest area? Mallik suggests that it is the responsibility of all three – the HR, line manager, and the individual himself.

The first job for a fresher should be a platform to plug career gaps, understand his expectations, capabilities and explore ahead for a lateral move.

The readers of this blog are encouraged to share their experiences and help the rookies in their search for that perfect haven and stop prevent career accidents.

The author is Director, IILM - Business School, Mathura Road, New Delhi.

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A job or placement?

June 14th, 2010

Finding a job is not placement. For an MBA graduate, a job that aligns with  long-term career goal is placement in the right sense.

Then comes the big question of how to find a job that helps in terms of career goals. Also, how does one plan a career with slowdown crippling the economy and its repercussions yet to wear off?

SECTORS THAT ARE CURRENTLY HIRING
1. Manufacturing and construction
2. Telecom
3. BPOs/KPOs
4. Banking & Insurance Sectors
5. ITeS
6. Services Sector

There may not be a clear one line answer to this question. It needs an elaborate understanding of ones area of interest, academic background, and where one sees the career graph moving in three years’ time.Newly-minted MBA graduates are often confused about which career path to choose, even at a stage when they are about to complete their MBA. Most students have come to terms with the fact that random choices made early during their career can decelerate their career graph.

Early in their career, most management graduates make the mistake of turning down offers and waiting for that perfect job to land in their plates. This is utopia. Though, it may happen in some cases, most of them should accept offers well in time and make the most of it.

In other words, accepting a job well in time is one of ways to find out ones true field or area of interest. Even better is to get into rotational positions. Though apparently not lucrative, in rotational positions an MBA graduate gets to work in few functional areas in a company such as marketing, sales or operations for a few months before getting into a management role.

But to nab that dream job, one has to do more than studies. With the job market just beginning to recover, a student serious about his career must focus on what s/he brings to the table compared to others in competition for the same job.

In various B-schools, finding a job during the recession period last year was a rage. And why not. The campuses saw fewer companies coming up with offers. Overall, the industry grew at a slower pace than expected. But things look upbeat now. Now is the right time to pursue a career in management as by the time the economy fully recover, one has the necessary skills required for the job market.

Other than the elite schools, students who are in the second rung colleges with average academic background, should either seek help from career counselors who can help a student to find their area of interest. And having identified that special area, commit to it.

For graduates, an important point to keep in mind is that the recruiters know that fresh b-school graduates need further training and seasoning. HR managers then believe that it is best to tap former interns since both the parties know each other.

Understanding that a crucial preparatory timing for final placement is during internship is key to career planning. Though many students may not take internships very seriously. Giving due importance to internship in career goes a long way in marinating a student for that dream job which he expects during the final placements.

A report by Kelly Services, which conducts the “Global Workforce Index” annually revealing opinions about work and the workplace from a generational view point, says that due to global economic slowdown professionals are reinventing themselves as independent freelancers and consultants. Today, people are taking charge of their own careers and view self-employment as a way of achieving personal and professional success.

In fact, at most of the international b-school campuses, placement search is dubbed as “the year of the networked job search.”
Gone are the days when job search used to be only school-driven activity. Now, students are expected to take charge of their careers, attend various corporate seminars, build on their networking skills during their study years, and always be in touch with alumni.

Often students think that just because one has managed to pay the course fee for pursuing MBA, s/he is entitled for a job. Employability skills are almost an integral part of any management course in these times. Attending these classes seriously will only benefit the student. Other than studies, equal importance has to be given to life skills training.

Over the period of two years when one is pursuing management studies, the process of learning, developing, growing, being trained to be a manager finally leads to the process at the end of their fourth semester of program called placement.

Placement is never measured by package only!

The author is Director, IILM - Business School, Mathura Road, New Delhi.

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