E = Q + WE + S x C

This is the magical formula derived by Dr Paul Redmond in his book entitled “The Graduate Jobs Formula – How to land your dream career“.

It’s a great book, and essential reading for any graduate considering how to get their first “real” job.  Or anyone involved in the process of helping graduates into employment.

He makes the point that a graduate’s employability (E) is a combination of qualifications (Q), work experience (WE), strategies (S), and contacts (C).  This might not seem particularly novel but as with so many things, it seems easier to understand and rather more obvious when it is written down.  It’s an important reminder of what is important for young people to be thinking about.

All too often these days we see some incredibly lucky, clever, confident people apparently coming from obscurity and making it big – really big.  In the internet age, seemingly everything is possible, and many of the big names of today pursued their dreams with incredible results.  The likes of Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg are rarely out of the news and are the shining examples of what can be achieved these days.  When even graffiti artist David Choe is apparently set to earn $100-200 million for the work he did at Facebook headquarters, it further underlines the message that anything goes, and it’s okay to break all the rules.  “He’s just a graffiti artist – I can do that”.

The reality, of course, is different.  These guys are absolutely exceptional, representing the tiniest minority.  Not all graffiti artists are the same.  It’s great to dream – it would certainly be a dull world without dreams, and progress in prosperity would be painfully slow.  But at the same time, the vast majority of us need to be realistic.

By all means, dream.  But when not dreaming, remember what’s important – Qualifications, Experience, Strategies & Contacts.  If you get lucky along the way, brilliant – you can ditch all those lecture notes and certificates.