It is my thesis that if you seek excellence, jobs will seek you out. If you seek jobs without seeking excellence, you will often be one among many and also struggle to find something satisfying.
So my suggestion to young people is to find something that you are passionate about and seek excellence in that. Chances are that you will not even have to search and hunt for jobs.
I have also been using this thought in finding appropriate people who can be part of my team. Instead of looking for “appropriately” qualified people (often people who have gone on to pick up qualifications and pad their resumes to meet job requirements), I often look for indications of passion and efforts to excel. For example, for a position managing a library, I think a person with a passion for books/ reading/ learning/ sharing may be more useful than a person with a B.Lib degree but no interest in books. A person who has excelled in something –say, sports, music, dance etc — is more likely to have the basic values necessary to excel such as discipline, persistence, attention to detail etc. Such a person may be able to actually deliver in certain roles where specialised training is not required.
I also find that this maxim works well when I am interviewing students who have expressed interest in pursuing an internship or project with me. It is so much more fun and satisfying training students who approach their assignment with passion, interest for learning and achieving. It is very easy to spot those willing to strive for excellence — look for indications of willingness to struggle, make sacrifices, and build patiently and systematically. The perfect test is a hardship test!