I Am Employable! Or Am I?

The Millennial Career Dilemma Series – Article 16 by Shubika Bilkha



I recently attended an event where the esteemed panelists discussed pertinent issues around failures in our education system and how employability remained a key concern as students graduate from our institutions. While I tried to dig in with questions to get some solutions presented on how do we change this, what was particularly interesting to me was that the audience comprised primarily of young career aspirants. In these forums, typically, I have always witnessed a slew of policymakers, educationists, industry or HR leaders. A room filled with young students and early career professionals hearing about why they are unemployable, was a first.


At a session that I conducted at a leading educational institution, I asked the young graduates what they thought of all this press and chit chat that implied they were seemingly unemployable. In truth, many didn’t pay too much attention to it and the ones who did said that the reference was to other graduates, not them.


With the majority of India’s graduates slated to be unemployable, have we stopped to explain to the millennial career aspirant potential reasons for why employability remains a challenge? In a conversation recently with a key investor in the Indian startup ecosystem, we discussed how most job seekers get very little feedback on their interview performance. They often think its lacking technical skillsets, an incorrect answer or something more tangible that may have contributed to them not getting the job.


In effect, over 60% of workplace success can be attributed to factors other than technical skills- EQ, behavior, critical thinking, problem solving and other intangible somethings.


While there are over 20 intangible workplace skills that contribute to success, as a follow on to my article Got the Interview, NOT the Job, I have outlined some factors that could enhance the millennial career seekers employability prospects:


Knowing who you are

Your first 7 seconds in the interview are about making your best first impression to differentiate yourself. Understand your values, motivations, interests and strengths, and bring them in the right context to the interview. The more clarity you have on yourself, the more confident and self-assured you will be to the interviewer.


Being Self-Motivated

Self-motivation is about being proactive, demonstrating initiative, taking the time to understand the organization and the industry, being more commercially aware and showing your interviewer that you really are that driven candidate. Zero in on what genuinely motivates you and find a way to relate it to the job role at hand.


Honing those analytical skills

Critical thinking, problem solving, cognitive flexibility, are some of the skills identified by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the key skills for 2020. Remember, your performance in the workplace will essentially depend on two things- your ability to simplify and manage issues, and the systematic manner in which you approach situations. Build those skills today!


Communication skills

Irrespective of job role or company, strong communication skills, clarity of thought and a human centric approach will work wonders in your career.


Delete the WIIFM

Managers/clients/organizations/interviewers want to know how you bring value to them. Take out the Whats In It For Me (WIIFM) and focus on bringing your best self to the table. The rest will follow.


For more information on Edpower-U’s Career Coaching and Workplace skill building programs please write in to edpoweru@gmail.com.


About the Author



Shubika Bilkha is currently the Founding Partner of Edpower-U. She is a dynamic entrepreneur, trained executive coach, media spokesperson, author and corporate advisor with experience that spansthe financial, technology, ecommerce, education and real estate sectors in India and Internationally. As the managing Director of two early stage start-ups in technology and education, Shubika has hands on experience in all aspects of these businesses. She was recently the Managing Director of a leading vocational training institute in India and has worked with a number of leaders across industry, government and the educational ecosystem in India and the UK.


She is also a published author with her first book widely distributed. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. She is a trained Executive Coach with CTI, UK in line with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) ACC guidelines.



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