Where to begin your career? Start with a tool

Just after I graduated,  I got a call for interview from Funskool, a toy manufacturer. 

I went for the interview and the interviewer asked me, do you know AutoCAD? 

I said I do know the basics but I can learn. This was a textbook interview answer. I was not very confident around it, the interviewer could sense it.

The interviewer told me you should know this design tool, it is very important. 

I never heard back from them again.

I was not taught all this at the engineering school. Maybe a workshop or two focussed on the use of various tools. The 4 year rigorous course was more about advanced mechanics, dynamics of machinery, thermodynamics etc. All the high end things that I never ended-up applying. After I graduated, I struggled for a job. 

A few years later, I was studying business. B-schools are all about jargons and frameworks. In the two years I never studied any tool as such. Yes, business is an acumen. You learn the language and skills and all the knowledge that enables you to become a generalist. But you never learn a tool except excel and powerpoint. 

Without a tool, the odds are against you. In the interviews you show your knowledge and personality. Thankfully MBA is more personality than actual skills. It is more about interpersonal skills and influencing and knowledge. I used all this and ended-up getting a job.

But years later I realised you are just going to depend on your personality then you will be always vulnerable. Sometimes the situations around you will not enable you to be yourself. 

In that case, you need a tool or a framework that you master.

If you master a tool, you will be objectively better than your competition. Later on you can use personality to grow in your career but start with a tool.

Leave a Reply