A common proverb that we come across during our student life is 'lekhapora korey je gari ghora chorey shey' (the one who studies is graced by fortune).
Our school system and society encourage a competitive mindset and we are in a constant race with our peers.
The race becomes most intense at the undergraduate level, as we mostly associate our CGPA with the prospect of landing a good job.
Good academic results reflect the sincerity of the candidate, however, interviewers look for a set of other traits that would qualify him/her as a promising professional.
According to Statista, the unemployment rate in Bangladesh is 4.29% (2019). Around six lakh graduates hit the job market each year, however, only a handful manage to get their desired jobs.
On the other hand, employers also complain about the lack of qualified candidates and settling for below the bar.
Clearly, there is a gap between the requirements of employers and the qualifications of prospective employees, which is not being covered by CGPA.
While employers look for candidates with decent CGPAs, interviews mostly focus on assessing a candidate's interpersonal and professional skills.
Let us look into some traits with greater details and how we can improve them through within and out of classroom activities.
The first impression lasts long, and good communication skills are essential to leave a memorable impression on anyone.
No matter how good our knowledge or skills are, unless we can present or communicate them to others, they are practically useless or non-existent.
Employers specifically look for candidates with good communication skills since this particular trait can take the incumbent a long way in professional life.
Being a fresh graduate without any prior experience, the best way to stand out to employers is via good communication skills.
We all develop basic communication skills as we grow up, however, we need to polish and sharpen them extensively to make ourselves ready for the professional world.
Classrooms are very good places to practice peer to peer communication and to overcome the fear of public speaking by presenting doubts and queries to the teacher.
Once we overcome the fear of speaking out, we can concentrate on communicating rightly and effectively.
Engaging in out-of-classroom activities like seminars, workshops, and competitions can help us observe other professionals, and improve our thought delivery skills at the same time.
Being a fresh graduate, drawing the attention of an employer with a CV without prior experience often proves challenging, especially in today's competitive job market.
The employers cannot be blamed here entirely, considering the hundreds of applications they receive for a few positions.
Proper networking through in and out of class activities and professional contacts can take us a long way.
Active networking should help us get acquainted with classmates, seniors and other professionals working in our field of interest.
Such networks prove very useful in learning about prospective job opportunities and making through the initial screening process.
One of the effective ways to increase the professional network is via participation.
While classes help us engage with classmates with similar professional targets, out of class activities help us engage with people who are already in the professional world.
The engagement with professionals might come in the form of a project, presentation, competition, internship, thesis, etc.
The idea is to make them notice our presence through dedicated effort, which generally leads to a lasting relationship. Such connections always serve as assets, be it at the early stage of the career or a later stage.
Leadership is a skill, but good leadership is a quality. It is a quality that not everyone has, but it is a quality that everyone can master.
Leaders are the ones with the courage to set ambitious goals and take responsibility if and when something goes wrong.
They have the patience and tenacity to keep pushing forward until the goal is met.
In a congregation of thousands of applicants, employers always try to seek out leaders.
As students, we can cultivate leadership skills through engaging in projects and event management, leading debate teams and business competitions, managing club activities, etc.
A true leader is also a great team player. S/he knows the strengths and limitations of the team and employs it most efficiently.
Conceptual and analytical ability
In general, academic studies and professional work are vastly different.
While academia focuses on theoretical knowledge, the corporate world seeks candidates with practical knowledge in their field of work.
To bridge the gap, it is essential to have good conceptual and analytical abilities. This ability gives us the strength to adapt to new and changing work responsibilities and environment.
Sound conceptual background and sharp analytical ability can serve as great weapons to play around in the professional world and beat the competition.
Memorising class lectures might help in improving grades, but without a proper understanding of key business concepts, career progression would be slow and difficult.
As mentioned earlier, having a good CGPA is undoubtedly an advantage but it is not sufficient to lead us to our desired jobs.
We need to indulge in both curricular and extracurricular activities to ensure an easy transition from academia to professional life.