Thinking about the future can be stressful, especially amidst the changing work landscape propelled by the Internet revolution.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question pops up time and time again in one’s life – be it in elementary school, high school or university. Often, the answer to it changes. Sometimes, the answer is not known at all. A variety of internal factors go into making the decision about one’s work path, including interests, passions, skills and more. However, equally important is the external state of affairs – outlook of the job market coupled with the need to start developing skillsets at an early stage.
With over a decade of experience as a recruiter, Divinder Purewal outlines various trends. Firstly, he points out a growing international job market with increased global social mobility that is no longer just domestic or local. Hence, assets such as additional language skills, negotiation handling and networking will be of value.
Currently working in the industry with a Masters in Human Resources, Prateek Kaur adds, “Firms today value a diverse culture as it brings unexplored perspectives to the forefront. Learning different ways of working and knowing how to deal with different people while remaining professional in the workplace puts you a step ahead.”
Undoubtedly, another apparent trend is the prevalence of employment in the field of technology. As Purewal puts it, “The growth of the I.T market isn’t going to slow down. In fact, we are moving more and more towards technology, reducing the number of physical people required in the workforce, but we still need people to program, maintain and develop the I.T systems both at the front and back end.” As a result, programming experience will be highly valued in the future. However, the power of trade cannot be undermined either, as professionals such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians will be in high demand given the fast-paced housing boom. Note that industries relating to medical services, analytics, and education will also continue to thrive due to ongoing social needs.
Taking a step back considering the aforementioned trends, how can students today leverage this information to their benefit? The key lies in involvement! Even the most highly regarded companies today do not solely place weight on academic performance. Katy Peng, a Human Resources student at Simon Fraser University with multiple co-op experiences in the industry, reveals, “Hiring usually depends on the type of position and the type of skills required. Companies will usually look relevant [at] experiences that may give the applicant transferable skills. Tailoring resumes to a position can help make things easier to find for recruiters, which could increase the chances of the recruiter being interested in you.”
A 4.0 GPA or ‘straight A’s’ are not enough to land a position; self-confidence, the ability to lead and learn, and passion are just as important. These experiences are attainable through various activities that students can partake in throughout their student life.
In other words, a 4.0 GPA or ‘straight A’s’ are not enough to land a position; self-confidence, the ability to lead and learn, and passion are just as important. These experiences are attainable through various activities that students can partake in throughout their student life. A recent graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business explains, “When it comes down to it, there are many people competing for the same job with an almost identical education. Experience is what sets each individual apart, and demonstrates what types of skills a person can bring to the job. Experience doesn’t have to just be paid work experience, but can also be volunteer work, involvement in school clubs, and any self-directed work and learning that one would deem as valuable to have.” Preparation is half the victory.
That said, to be successful, there is also a need for one to truly enjoy the job that they choose. From a social standpoint, we must recognize that employment does exist outside of the traditionally sought-after titles of doctors, engineers and lawyers. Rather than forcing children to pursue a certain educational degree, parents should let them find their own path – sometimes through trial and error.
Purewal shares his top three tips for young adults entering the working world:
1 Take your time in working out who you want to be when you’re older. To rush through college, university or a trade program, too quickly, means you haven’t really had a chance to enjoy that important part of life. You’re possibly going to be working for 50 years, so if you study for another two, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
2 Give yourself permission to change your mind – be this with the direction of the course you study and even the job that you do. It’s true that you sometimes need to do something you don’t like to work out what you do like.
3 Have as many experiences as you can overseas! Travel broadens the mind and you might even find your passion far from home.
Thinking about the future can be stressful, especially amidst the changing work landscape propelled by the Internet revolution. Regardless, the opportunities are endless. By getting involved early on to build your professional self and taking the leap to pursue what you are genuinely passionate about, the journey to the jobs of tomorrow starts now.