My Immediate Career Prospects

In my third (and final) career-related post of the day, I want to say a quick word on my immediate career prospects. In theory, my career prospects are pretty good:

  • I have seven years of work experience, half of it in management, and an MBA from a highly ranked university
  • I have done lots of work on many different types of web portals (in multiple sectors) over the last few years, so this is an area that I know quite a bit about
  • I have worked in both technology and media companies and have worked for a lot of startups as well
  • The MBA has taught me a great deal -- especially in terms of core management, problem solving and analysis, business strategy, economics, marketing, managing people, e-commerce, negotiations, etc. -- and so I am a pretty well-rounded and well-qualified candidate in both technology and business

In practice, though, things are a bit different:

  • I don't have a lot of Australian work experience and this might count against me in the early, non-face-to-face stages of the job application process (till I can directly demonstrate my competence to my potential employer)
  • The MBA degree isn't highly valued in Australia except in certain industries; and media isn't necessarily one of them (in fact, in that industry, it might just count against me)
  • A lot of the jobs that I want to apply for are Sydney-based

Other things might initially be perceived by potential employers as being negative -- for example, they'll probably wonder about my English proficiency, my management and team-work skills, and my knowledge of business strategy -- but hopefully those will be quickly overcome once they talk to me and, to some extent, to my referees.

In short: for now, my prospects are uncertain. My challenge, then, is to somehow demonstrate my abilities to potential employers.

What Employers Look For

When employers look at potential employees, they judge them on three things:

  1. Can do (competence): Evidence of skills, experience, and competencies needed to perform the job. Potentially, this is my biggest hurdle in the early stages of the application process since I have limited Australian work experience, though the little that I have is quite good. However, half of my Pakistani work experience has been with American companies so it's not all bad. Note: you don't get to the interview stage till you convince employers (or recruitment agencies) that you can do the job that you have applied for.
  2. Will do (commitment, willingness): The right attitude, energy, and commitment for the job. To determine this, employers interview you. During that -- and particularly during case interviews -- they test both your can-do and will-do. That's often why there are multiple interview rounds.
  3. Fit (commitment and chemistry): The right compatibility and interpersonal chemistry with the team and your fit with the organization's culture. Once you reach the final stages -- usually, the management interview or when you get invited over for informal drinks with the team -- the employer has pretty much decided that you can and will do the job to their satisfaction. Now the task is to see if you fit well in the company...and vice versa. By the way, another reason for the multiple interviews with multiple interviewers is to determine whether you like your potential colleagues and whether they like you.

Of course it's not quite as simple as I make it sound here, but those are the basics.

As a candidate, then, I have to demonstrate all three of those -- my can-do, will-do, and fit -- to my potential employer. My resume, cover letter, and (should they Google me) this blog demonstrate my can-do; the cover letter and interview demonstrate my will-do; and the interviews demonstrate my fit. And, if all goes well, I get a job offer.

Let's see how things pan out over the next few months. As every, I'll keep you posted.