The joy of the much-anticipated graduation march may easily diminish when graduates (and their parents) are confronted with the inevitable reality of high unemployment rate in the country.
Armed with the freshly-handed diploma and the sheer confidence of attaining a college degree, you step into the real world equipped with what you have learned in the classroom. Are you ready to compete?
In an effort to find a job, every graduate becomes an applicant bound to undergo a grueling employment process—from going through the list of openings and submitting a resume, hoping to get that HR call, waiting for hours at the office lobby for usually a series of interview sessions, then praying incessantly to receive the good news from the HR! You need to exceed the potential employer’s expectations among hundreds of job seekers over a single position. But really, how can you stand out?
Career counselor Adam Friedman wrote an article at The Wall Street Journal saying that schools provide little or nothing for job preparation. He added, “Most graduates with liberal arts degrees have no clue as to what jobs they are suited for and have little idea of what skills they need to land the job they want.”
Does this mean most graduates fail to tap their highest potential because they get lost along the path of their initial career undertaking?
More than remembering the theories you have memorized for the lengthwise-paper quiz given by your professor back in school, this is the stage in your life that you need to be completely focused and all-out prepared in order to excel in your job hunt. At this point, stop spending superficial amount of time imagining who to treat and what to buy with your first pay check.
Although you are excited to achieve monetary freedom, financial abundance should never be the sole purpose of your application. Better to discern your true passion and pursue it with the most comprehensive “battle plan” you can muster.
Just imagine yourself doing something you don’t enjoy for 8 to 10 hours every single day (say, selling slimming products via phone or encoding piles of old documents). It will not be fun, right? Quoting Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.
Knowing your key strengths and bearing these in mind, you can now resist feeling overwhelmed with what may quickly look on the surface as fantastic opportunities. This kind of mindset puts you in a better position to laser-focus on what you know would give you a better chance at succeeding in the initial stages of your career.
Struggling over the limited job opportunities in the country, following some “best practices” at job search can give you some competitive advantage, such as:
- Create concise and engaging resume. Although usually quickly scanned, this is the first perfect place to look your best. Its main purpose has to be addressed—introduce yourself and your achievements, grab the attention of the recruiter, and make them interested to meet you. There are many free online articles you can use as reference to help highlight your resume.
- Understand your realistic competencies before submitting the curriculum vitae. When you applied as PM-trainee in a consumer-healthcare company, is it as a product manager or production manager? What are your standout features that will ultimately match you to this job?
- Do your research. Most corporations have active websites; browse it! It is a negative point against an applicant not to do as much. Study their business portfolio. Is the nature of work aligned to your passion? Is it a local or multinational company? Who are their clients?
Now you are set to carry forth the gathered information to the actual interview.
- Put on your best business-look attire. Company interviewers give plus points to applicants whom they discern exerted a good amount of effort to look good for the meeting. (No flip-flops or low-waist tight-fitting jeans, please!)
- Maintain proper composure during the interview. To avoid giving negative vibes, maintain the right amount of confidence; be articulate and sincere; build authentic line of connection to the interviewer; and stay focused throughout. Drop other mesmerizing thoughts (like the 3D movie-marathon or the pending dinner date right after the meeting) that might drift you away from the core conversation.
Confronting the pressure of getting a job after college should not derail you from pursuing the kind of career you truly aspire for. Even at this early part of your life, be in control of your destiny. At least try.