Once you have earned the academic qualifications that you worked so hard for, your next big step is finding a job that suits your interests and gives you opportunities to excel.

Here are some tips on how you can ensure that your career goes from strength to strength:

Know what employers want

When you go for a job interview, remember that first impressions last.

So make sure you are armed with a detailed resumé of your achievements and academic qualifications, and that you look like a well-groomed professional.

These basics aside, the next thing you need to ask yourself is what your potential employer really wants from you.

There are others like you with similar or even better qualifications than yours, so you need to stand out in a way that persuades the employer to choose you over someone else. 

Whatever the career you seek, there is one universal quality all employers expect from their employees — resourcefulness.

Being resourceful means that no matter what challenges you face in your career, you are committed to getting the job done.

In a world full of uncertainties and constant change, organisations require people who can adapt quickly and respond to new realities.

Prepare yourself

If you want to take charge of your career, you will have to prepare yourself for the job that you seek. This goes beyond the minimum qualifications that you need to do the job.

Nowadays, employers in many industries are looking for potential candidates who are multi-talented and able to multi-task.

If you are a graduate, you will need to display strong leadership qualities, as you will most likely be put in charge of people.

Prepare yourself by being familiar with the best practices of your industry. Read widely and find out as much information as possible about the organisation you want to work for.

Think about possible action plans that you can initiate within the organisation if you get the job.

This will not occur overnight, of course, but having a plan of what you want to achieve is a step in the right direction for career growth.

As you build a reputation for hard work, knowledge and resourcefulness, your boss will see you as the kind of person who has the gumption to succeed even in tough times.

Earning the trust of your superiors is a sure way of getting important projects and winning promotions.

Create action plans

Start your career with a clear vision of where you intend to go. This entails that you have short-term, mid-term and long-term action plans for your tenure with the organisation.

Do you aim to be a manager within two years? If so, what do you have to do to achieve this? Is this achievable in the first place?

These are the type of hard questions you need to ask and answer, then chart your course to succeed.

Remain employable

“Redundant” is the dirty word that no employee wants to hear. Yet, many companies let their employees go in tough economic conditions. 

What makes you so sure that you will not suffer the same fate?

Although it is not possible to predict what will happen in the course of your work life, you can minimise the chances of losing your job by ensuring that you remain employable.

You can achieve this by staying relevant to the changing business environment. Be vigilant as to what is happening around you. Keep up with the changes in technology and innovation.

Upgrade your skills or learn new ones. Wherever possible, try to find new ways to do your job more efficiently and effectively.

Make an effort to network regularly and give as much as you receive. Strong ties with members of your network will be invaluable should you face a career crisis and need some helping hands.

Every career has its setbacks. The key is to learn from your failures and use your well-honed resourcefulness to move forward.

If you practise some of these tips, you will cope effectively with the challenges that come your way.

Look for creative solutions to problems, build strong ties with people whose qualities you admire, and put yourself in the driver’s seat so that you take charge of where your career goes.