28 March 2022 06:06:12 IST

Why job-readiness matters

An excerpt from the book — Get Job Ready: How to Land Your Dream Job Out of College — written by Vasu Eda that is a step-by-step guide for students to transition from college to career and be prepared to take on the corporate world. 

The workplace of today is vastly different from the workplace your parents entered. The workplace of yesterday was hierarchical and formal. Today’s workplace has gone from physical walls to a virtual environment — from cubicles to collaborative spaces.

In this fluid and agile approach employees work in cohesive, collaborative, cross-functional teams to accomplish the company’s common goals.

To be successful in today’s workplace, employees need to work well on a team, have good communication skills, be digitally competent, and be critical thinkers.

In today’s business environment, the fact that you are a college graduate is not enough to land a job. With only a certificate in hand, you will find it difficult to open doors in the job market.

There are three main qualifications needed for you to successfully transition from college to a career:

  1. Education or academics (e.g., college certificate)
  2. Employability skills
  3. Job-search readiness

Why do employers want job-ready candidates? 

Employers want to be assured that you can successfully transition from student to professional. Employability skills (sometimes referred to as core skills) are usually not taught in classrooms but are important to be productive and successful in today’s business environment.

Here’s a closer look at the five core employability skills with actionable ideas:

Graphics by V Visveswaran


Employers look for job candidates who can be team players, because they know they will be getting an employee who will be able to collaborate, communicate, be productive and work to achieve the company’s overall goals.

Gaining teamwork skills can be achieved through experiences with a leadership role, even of a small group, taking the lead or being part of a team in an organised activity, group or club, perhaps as captain of a sports team, or as an officer in a club or student government.

In addition, boost your teamwork skills by developing some of the following:

  1. Delegating
  2. Time management
  3. Listening
  4. Commitment
  5. Creativity
  6. Research
  7. Goal setting
  8. Relationship building
  9. Empathy

These can be highlighted on your résumé. If you can add quantifiable results from a team experience, such as money raised in a fundraising effort, or an increase in visitors to a website you developed, it will maximise your profile.

Keep the above list and quantifiable results in mind and be ready to explain them in a cover letter or an interview.


Showcasing your oral and written communication skills begins with your résumé, cover letter and interview. Communication skills are needed daily on a job whether you are writing an email to a client, talking on the phone to clients or team members, writing a report for your project manager, discussing an initiative with your team, sharing your ideas in a meeting or giving a presentation.

You can develop and improve your communication skills through the following experiences:

  1. Class presentations
  2. Research projects
  3. Student government
  4. Club participation and leadership
  5. Performing arts
  6. Public speaking
  7. Website content writing
  8. Internship
  9. Part-time job

Ask classmates and professors to provide feedback and suggestions to improve your communication skills.

When you write your résumé, do not simply state that you have strong communication skills; demonstrate it through experiences and achievements with a statement such as: presented our team’s research projects to an audience of professors and members of an academic club.

Problem-solving and critical thinking

Show employers that you are a creative problem-solver, able to handle situations that do not have a fixed solution. To gain some skills in this area, take some classes that involve hands-on learning or experiential learning.

Having strong numeracy skills does not mean that you have to be a math whiz or become an accountant or scientist. To be effective at many jobs, you will need to be able to analyse numerical information to make decisions.

Strong numeracy skills imply that you are capable of organising information, understanding charts and graphs, budgeting, scheduling, drawing conclusions from data and making calculations.

If you were involved in a research project or worked as a lab assistant, highlight on your résumé how you analysed data to draw conclusions, or used graphs and charts in a report. Or, if you were responsible for a club’s budget, include budget management as a skill on your résumé.

Digital competence 

Being digitally competent means through the use of technology, you are able to solve problems, communicate, collaborate and manage information required to be successful.

In most jobs today, regardless of the industry, employees need to be competent with Microsoft Office — Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Yammer or other similar software. If you do not know your way around these tools, it will be critical to get up to speed for most jobs.

Beyond the basics, it will also be helpful to have some knowledge of coding, video editing and creating infographics. Digital competence also means you are effectively managing your online image.

If you have used your skills to build a website, create a successful email marketing campaign, increase awareness of a company through its social media or used your digital skills to help run a family business, be sure to include this information on your résumé.

Professionalism and work ethics 

No matter how strong your teamwork, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and digital competence skills are if you are not professional and unable to demonstrate a strong work ethic, you will not be valued in the workplace.

Professionalism is demonstrated by being someone who people want to work with by arriving at work on time, displaying a good attitude, and taking advice and direction well. As a professional, you are able to effectively manage your time, meet deadlines, and be accountable for your actions.

About the Book
Get Job Ready
Vasu Eda
Penguin Random House India
₹299; 240 pages

Having a good work ethic means that you are reliable and responsible, work well with others towards a common goal and are committed to the projects you are assigned.

Employers want to know that you can easily transition from life as a student to the professional world, so always be on the lookout for things you can do to improve your employability skills. 

(Vasu Eda is the CEO of RiseSharp, a venture helping college students in India find a job. He founded a human capital management company, Boniva Software, and served as its CEO until its acquisition. He also worked at multinational companies, Alcatel-Lucent and Intel, in corporate strategy, and mergers and acquisitions. Vasu holds an MBA from Columbia University, an MS in computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology, a BE in mechanical engineering from Shivaji University.)

This excerpt is being carried with permission from Penguin Random House India.