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Diplomas VS Skills

It's no secret that in most French-speaking African countries, a diploma is seen as a kind of income far preferable to competence. Thus, rather than being brought up in the cult of knowledge and learning, young people, heirs to this diploma culture, are more inclined to obtain diplomas that would a priori guarantee a successful professional life. Statistics show that young people are less concerned with skills than with diplomas. Most of them are willing to wave their masters or doctorates in your face, even if they don't have the skills to back them up. You'd say to me, they've still got a master's or a doctorate, and that's no mean feat. Indeed, you're right, it's not nothing. But if I'm a recruiter looking to hire someone who's going to do more than recite scientific theories and principles, you may have a PhD, but if you don't have the necessary skills, your diploma is just paper. A diploma is no longer really proof of your skills in this or that field. Job interview experience is proof enough of that. And above all, what good is a master's degree or doctorate in this digital age, when it's so easy to plagiarize? For some, copying, pasting and clowning around in front of an increasingly less rigorous jury is enough to earn a doctorate. Not everyone, however.

Candidates are often very confident at the start of interviews, where they usually try to impress you with the masters and PhDs they've defended at the top universities. But when you ask them what they can actually do, the eloquent masters and PhD candidates start to babble, everything starts to spin out of control and they don't play so smart. 

What are companies looking for today?

Today, companies are less interested in diplomas than in skills. There's a sort of gradual migration towards the Anglo-Saxon system, which focuses more on what you can do than on what you have a diploma for. The profile we're looking for generally focuses on qualities such as openness, self-motivation, dynamism, autonomy, initiative, innovation and adaptability. Today, recruiters are much more interested in background, multilingualism and the ability to produce quickly. 

Personal qualities

Recruiting attitudes and teaching skills: that's how companies recruit today. Depending on factors such as the sector of activity, the size of the company, the position in question, the strategic stakes involved, etc., a large proportion of recruiters believe that interpersonal skills should take precedence over knowledge and know-how, which are elements that the employee can acquire through day-to-day work. 

So, to be competitive on the job market, young people should focus more on acquiring human and professional skills and qualities. Having diplomas is good, but having the skills to put those diplomas to good use is even better. 

Jospin Lionel Ifogo, Marketing and Communication Assistant for Job Booster Chad Sarl

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