As a fresh grad, you will think that you have an advantage over older workers by virtue of the fact that you are strong, young, cheap to hire and ability to generate fresh new ideas for companies.
But then it dawned on you that maybe you are just a tad too young and inexperienced. While employers do like to hire young and cheap candidates, they also look at the experience the candidates possess. When your work experience only involves scooping ice cream, waiting on tables or tutoring your 8-year-old niece, you will find it hard to find an entry level job.
Here are the biggest hurdles fresh grads face when applying for jobs, and how to get over them.
The days when colleges and universities were only accessible to the rich and elites are way over. Schools have become more affordable for everyone with student grants and scholarships taking the financial load off poor but deserving students. With this, a lot of pressure was put on students to attend good schools, get good grades in order to get a good job. The result? The number of degree holders has increased, causing more competition for the limited number of jobs available in market.
The ‘prestige’ that comes with graduating from a university with a perfect GPA has now become diluted. You are now facing a hoard of blood-thirsty graduates fighting with you for jobs. You’ll now need something more than just a degree to get you that first job.
Start with accumulating work experience on your resume by interning for companies along your aspired career fields. Aside from an internship, try volunteering in non-profit organisations or charities. Travel overseas with a volunteer group to learn and assist in solving global issues. This allows you to experience different culture, enhance your emotional intelligence and ‘soft skills’.
Jobs like business development require candidates to possess crucial ‘softer skills’ like patience, determination, ability to think quickly and communicate effectively in challenging circumstances. Certain employers are looking for such skills in interviewees before they make a hiring decision.
Little or no work experience
Clicking through job ads online makes you realise that most junior roles require at least 1-3 years of work experience. Most students already know the importance of amassing internship experience during their school days. But with many students interning so aggressively, employers are not going to be easily impressed by the fact that you’ve been interning every holiday.
That does not discount the value of interning though, mainly because a good internship can snag you a job offer before you graduate, or at least gain some valuable contacts. Just make sure you’re getting practical work experience instead of just sitting in front of your desk, pretending to look busy or following your boss to meetings.
If you do not have any internship experience yet, what are you waiting for? Swallow your pride and find one. While you are twiddling your thumbs at home, your peers are already way ahead of you. Other than interning, something useful is a part-time work in a relevant field. The advantage of this is that you can often take them on a long-time basis, get more hands-on experience, and make some real dough instead of receiving a meagre intern’s pay.
If you’re planning to work on any kind of portfolio-based work in specific industries like design, communication or marketing, start building your portfolio early on when you’re in school. You can pick up freelance jobs when you are not busy with papers or projects.
Always keep in mind that jobs can lead to other jobs. You never know if the job you think is beneath you can lead you to the job you want. There’s always room to move up the company. Never be contended – always do more than what you are asked to do.
You have to be good at something in order to contribute something of value to a company. By this, I do not mean your amazing skill for rushing a paper a day before its due date. Students with computer, technology and designing skills will always be high in demand. Pick up these skills while you are still young, nimble and a student. Make full use of the student discount rate should you want to learn new skills or languages.
Another skill that most fresh grads lack is interview skills. You have gotten past perfecting the resume stage and you think you are safe. Think again. Employers will ask the hard-hitting questions. They like to bring you down and see how fast you can put yourself together and respond on your feet. Write a list of potential questions and prepare. Have your answers ready to go when the questions are asked. Be prepared to provide examples of the things you’ve listed on your resume.
Click here for part 2.
Source: AllSingaporeStuff (picture)