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A Reminder For New Graduates

Contributed by : Dilip Saraf

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In his most recent blog, Six Simple Growth EquationsRajesh Setty reminds fresh graduates how to start their professional career on the right foot. With thousands graduating during this diploma-granting season many feel lost, ill equipped, or even resigned to the idea of making a career by starting with the right first step.

Stats of high unemployment rates for fresh graduates (in some areas as high as 20%) and what happens to them during their first year of employment shed much light on their plight. Longitudinal studies have shown that the dropout rates of fresh graduates in their first job are as high as 35% and have not changed much over the years! Why is this rate so high? Again, going back to Setty"s blog, most focus on his 5th equation (1+1=2) during their first year at their job, very few on his 6th and final (1+1=11), and the majority are lost wondering about what 1+1 should really be for them in their careers!

The reason for these abysmal stats is partially provided by Jeff Selngo"s blog, Congratulations, College Graduate. Now tell Us: What Did Your Learn? Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) measurements show in Selingo"s blog that when college students take CLA three times during their college careers (about one year apart) 45 percent show NO gains in their writing, complex reasoning, and critical-thinking skills""key attributes that employers look for before hiring someone fresh out of school. After four years the number was still at 36 percent. In his blog Salingo writes about what students need to do to improve this score.

Taking the path that makes 1+1=11 during your early career""even your first job""is no accident. In my client pool I have many fresh graduates, with some in the middle of their first year at their new job. For those now in line to receive their diplomas this month it is too late for them to change their CLA scores. But, to increase their odds of getting a job, building a career for themselves (a"la the 1+1= 11 route) here are my suggestions:

  1. Find your passion and strengths and look for jobs that leverage those attributes. Do NOT go for jobs that offer enticing salaries and perks, but that do not feed your true love for working.
  2. Going from the campus life to working life is one of the biggest and most difficult transitions. The reasons for this are many-fold, but one of them is the reality that if your high IQ got you all those As on your transcripts it is not enough to get an "A" on your first-year performance review. Studies have shown that the correlation between professional success and IQ is only about 20% (not the near 100% that you expected in your college!). So, to do well in your career focus on all the other "Qs" that drive your success (Emotional Intelligence, EQ; Political Intelligence, PQ; Cultural Intelligence, CQ; Contextual Intelligence, XQ are the other four Qs that are worth knowing about).
  3. Learn how to work in teams and contribute in a leadership role. It is normal during your college years to study alone and get ready for exams and ace them. Not much focus is on teamwork in college, except perhaps in some sports.
  4. Shift your focus from pulling all-nighters before your exam to working diligently every day and accomplishing something worthwhile. In a new job it is all right to ask someone more experienced for help. This is a good way to leverage the resources around you to get things done.
  5. Learning how the place works and what is rewarded. Asking your boss how you will be measured during your first year is critical to know what to focus on to get an "A" on your first performance review. In the process find yourself a good mentor to help you navigate through the maze of working a job.

These are just a few tips I can think of right off the bat. The list is quite long, but getting started on these as your first order of business and having the right mindset to get going as you get ready to interview are critical.

Good luck!



About Author
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.

After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.

During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.

Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.

Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.

Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.

Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.



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