Congratulations! You worked really hard to achieve such a significant milestone in your life. Now, as you have finally graduated, it’s high time to move towards your next big step – job search. You may have heard the “need experience for job and job for experience” joke quite a few times during your student life. Well, now you need to prepare yourself for that competitive job market to outshine your fellows.
Searching job, in accordance to your mindset, is also an art and you need various colors of your personality to master it! Let’s see some important Do’s and Don’ts to observe throughout this phase.
Let’s admit; job market these days is just too competitive, and even the most experienced ones are unable to land a good job. Under such circumstances, it is crucial for you to remain optimistic.
There will be moments when you get interview calls from the most unexpected places and rejection letters from your dream jobs. In any case, just remind yourself that the best is still to come and you are worth something far better than just settling for an underpaid position! Moreover, you must appreciate that recruitment is a time-consuming process and demands HR professionals to follow a set procedure. Yes, you have that right to send follow-up emails, but make sure that you do not lose your patience and positivity.
Prove Yourself as a Brand
Personal branding is as important in the job search as it is in business. However, the techniques we use here are a bit different. If you were like the majority of your fellows back in the student life, I am pretty sure that you are an active social media user. Even if you are new to this digital world, don’t worry. Everyone needs to rebuild and optimize their online profiles at this stage.
That was maybe the last century when employers solely relied on your resume that you used to hand over them. The time has changed a lot. Most of the leading companies prefer LinkedIn and other social media platforms to get the best candidates. Even if such platforms are not referred directly in a company’s recruitment process, HR department there do considers your social media presence at some stage. After all, that reflects your “brand image” better than application essay or resume.
The moment you decide to get serious about job search, clean up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media profiles. Remove all the content that may indicate something negative about your character. However, there’s nothing wrong with some crazy group photos that show your fun-loving side.
Finally, connect with experts and professionals from your field. Use LinkedIn to reach out recruiters and talent acquisition head of various companies. While this will give you some great insights in your professional world, you will also explore hidden opportunities. Make sure that do not forget to add your school teachers, batch-mates, and guidance counselors.
Talking about such networking reminds me of another fun idea – 1 + 1 = 11, NOT 1! The idea is that when two like-minded individuals collaborate, they can make tremendous achievements. So, keep on expanding your professional network. Attend any interesting seminars, lectures and job fairs along the way to make new friends and introduce yourself as a highly competent and skilled young graduate! All this will contribute to personal branding, and soon you will be welcoming opportunities that you never thought about.
You can always use SuperCareer’s scientifically-validated assessments to discover your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you on your path to success.
Learn from the First Flight
I love to relate the job search of new graduates with the parable of a bird’s first flight. The way a mother bird pushes its baby out of the nest in the hope that it will rise high above the fear with its powerful, tiny wings is simply remarkable, isn’t it? I must say, you are also same as that small bird – destined to success after overcoming the fear of facing the world outside the walls of your school. Rise high above the obstacles to discover the talent you had ever since!
So, while keeping aside all the fears, remember that your eagerness to learn is the key to success. You will make some serious blunders along the way. Don’t let those mistakes discourage you from moving further – just accept them as practical lessons that you never learned in your school.
Engage in Research Work
Now here comes another important tip. The time you spend reading about the job market of your field is as important as applying to jobs with all your expertize. It tells you the expectations of your employers and the best practices of relevant companies around the world. So, when you appear for a job interview or get a chance to have an informal conversation with a professional of your field, you can raise intelligent questions, put forward well-thought arguments and prove that you are all set to demonstrate your skills and knowledge in entirely new environments. Employers love to hear constructive feedback and ideas from young graduates. Therefore, your research work can make you stand out of the thousand of applicants for your dream job!
As a young graduate, your mind is full of brilliant ideas. However, if you develop the sense of self-accountability, it will become easier to avoid harsh experiences. Moreover, this will groom your personality in such a way that you will be able to receive criticism positively; work under pressurized circumstances, and develop strong leadership skills. Trust me; employers love to see these qualities in their potential team players!
Stay Smart and Healthy!
What health care has to do with your job search? Well, whether you like it or not, people (and employers) judge you on your physical appearance. A smart, good-looking and friendly candidate is more likely to be shortlisted than someone who never took self-grooming seriously. In fact, many organizations have set medical criteria and go out of their way to ensure good physical and mental health of their employees. After all, who does not love to look super-attractive and highly competency at the same time?
So, while you are still searching for a job, be sure to reserve some time for sports. It will not only keep you in shape, but your mind will also stay healthy enough to embrace this transition from student life to professional world.
Engage in Political Disputes
Young graduates are usually the most active citizens involved in all kind of current affairs and political issues. It is indeed a great habit to stay informed about the latest world news. However, it might not be a good idea for you to engage in serious political disputes in your area. No doubt, there are numerous opportunities in our era to witness mass protests and uprisings every now and then. However, employers generally do not like their employees being associated with a political party.
Here I feel it necessary to mention that there’s no problem with upholding your political beliefs. In fact, you must have an opinion about the global and national issues – it makes you appear smarter and more intelligent! What you need to avoid is being extremist or disrespectful to others just because they hold a different opinion.
Get Obsessed with the Number of Connections
I was going through my LinkedIn feed a few weeks ago, and I came across a fascinating post. It mentioned something along the following lines:
“I removed many of my LinkedIn connections today because I discovered that I was using this platform with an entirely wrong approach. My vast network was of no value to me. Therefore, I decided to change the audience of my posts a bit. Now I am more focused on getting to know people personally and sharing things that really matter for my new friends!”
It seems impressive to have thousands of connections on LinkedIn or something similar, right? Well, the secret of successful networking is not hidden in that number; it’s in the quality of your connections. Having the right people around you keeps you motivated and on the track leading to a successful career.
Another important point to note is that how many people in your network are likely to give recommendations for you to potential employers. If you see from this perspective, it becomes critical to know your connections more closely and have an interaction beyond your computer screen. So, if you are socializing to support your job search, try not to waste time including every other person in your network. Instead, invest where you get something valuable in return – this can be recommendations, learning opportunities or any other thing important to you.
“Be so good. They can’t ignore you.”
When I started my career more than two decades ago, I felt highly constrained by the location of my workplace. Perhaps it was the feeling of homesickness; I could barely survive a week in my first job that was in a city other than my hometown. Later in my career, I missed two great opportunities of settling in Australia and then in the Middle East just because I was too comfortable working in my own country. Anyways, I managed to have a pretty decent career apart from these regrets.
Therefore, try not to restrict yourself by location or other preferences while progressing towards a professional career. Especially if you are in a technical field, you must be prepared to travel frequently in remote areas for official assignments. Doing so keeps you motivated to step out of comfort zone, take new risks and embrace changes that are essential for your personal and professional growth.
So, next time when you are applying filters to your job search, at least keep yourself open to new opportunities around the world.
Be Afraid of Negotiating Your Salary
As a young graduate, you are more likely to have a fear of negotiating your salary with the employer. Let me share a story that will help you overcome it.
There were two vacancies open in a call center for technical assistant. The employer shortlisted a few candidates and called them for interview. Now let’s skip to the last scene of interview of one of the successful candidates (let’s call him Mr. A):
Employer: So, how much would you like to get paid for this job?
Mr. A: Well, how much are you offering?
Employer: It’s $2000 per month. Is that okay for you?
Mr. A: Yes, definitely! (I can’t afford to lose this job while negotiating my salary!)
Now on the first day of job, Mr. A meets his fellow technical assistant. After some informal conversation, he discovers that his fellow is getting paid $2500 for the same job! If Mr. A had negotiated, things would have been much better.
It is understandable that as a fresh graduate, you are either afraid to lose the opportunity as Mr. A was or are unaware of the value of your services. In any case, your research work and networking, as mentioned before, will help you get a better salary. If you know about the job market, you can confidently negotiate with your employer and present convincing arguments to cover up the lack of professional experience, After all, now we really need to address the joke mentioned at the beginning of this article by responding to the prerequisite of experience in a creative way!