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The Indian subcontinent is gradually becoming a force to be reckoned with owing to its steady economic rise, and a growing youth population that holds immense potential. Out of its population of over 1.3 billion, more than 0.8 billion people belong in the working age group.
Looking at such numbers, it is evident that the country’s biggest asset lies in its young populace, especially freshers, who are keen to commence their professional journey as soon as they graduate.
However, entering the workforce is not as easy as perceived by most individuals. One of the biggest reasons why most Indian graduates fail to secure suitable employment is a major gap in the skills they possess. These days, most freshers seem to lack basic skills for certain profiles and as a result, have to endure lots of hurdles on the job front.
Let us explore some key skills that most individuals lack, and how they can overcome these challenges.
E-mail writing skills: Why is it important? According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, the average employee spends two-and-a-half hours per day dealing with e-mails. That’s equivalent to 81 working days every year or a quarter of your working life. Since almost all e-mails are written in a formal manner, the usual chat lingo used by freshers tends to show the employer that either the candidate is not interested in the job, or are taking it too casually.
So, what makes an email work? Following are some effective E-mail writing etiquettes that freshers can follow:
— Focus on the recipient.
— Write E-mails using correct spelling and grammar.
— Keep your writing short, crisp, and to the point.
— Leave little or no room for interpretation (they’re not meant to be literature!).
— Have a clear call to action.
Business communication: Business communication is basically how individuals communicate in a professional environment. Fresh graduates need to learn this art as they grow in their career since not knowing this can cause serious repercussions.
Being presentable and confident: Fresh graduates generally tend to be a little jittery when they are moving towards the corporate world. The lack of confidence is merely because this is a new chapter of their life and they’ve never treaded such waters. To all students starting out their careers, remember to believe in yourself. Do all the work allotted to you sincerely and with confidence and you shall be good to go.
MS Excel: We are taught that excel is merely used to add data to tables, but you’ll be surprised how diverse it actually is. Excel has grown to become arguably the most important computer programme in workplaces around the world. Whether you are budgeting, organising client sales lists, or need to plan an office social gathering, Excel is a powerful tool that has become entrenched in business processes worldwide.
You could take up small projects and try solving them using excel, and learn as you practice more. There are various training platforms available online that provide courses for the same.
PowerPoint: PowerPoint presentations are often handy when you have to communicate pointers in a concise manner. Basically, you need to know this for communication to external stakeholders in a structured style. As a fresher you should learn this skill in college during presentations. You can also acquire this skill on the job while you experiment with different presentations.
Documentation and auditing: Most freshers are clueless about the importance of written communication. They need to know how to document everything properly, both hard copies and soft copies so they can be easily accessed if and when necessary. Additionally, all conversations and meetings should be documented for future reference so that one can refer to old notes and audit them when going for successive meetings.
Internet searching: If any data is needed for any project at work, then you should know how to search and find data from authentic sources. It is very important to know how to validate the search results and which data to trust. Skimming through several results is also a skill that you need to master.You should also probably learn to experiment with keywords to get desired results.
Market knowledge and general awareness: Freshers should have a basic idea about the sector they are interested in like: knowing the best ways to do things, interacting with friends, best practices, what competitors are up to, etc. Stay au courant of latest concepts about the industry.
Time management: One needs to understand to value the time of both their manager and their own. Estimation of timelines and prioritisation of tasks are important for delivering any project. Moreover, if asked for an estimate of time, one should always under promise and over deliver as it helps create a good impression.
Calling/ communication skills: All professionals, not just tele-callers, need to have good calling etiquette. Learn how to start a conversation, how to conclude a conversation, and how and when to take pause at right places.
As a fresher, if you already have the skills mentioned above, it would help you pick up any roles in an organisation quickly. You can also take up several course packages offered on online training platforms for both interpersonal and computer skills.
The article is authored by Dinesh Goel, co-founder and CEO, Hunarr.co.in