En-route to your first job

By Julailah Wahid

It seemed like a simple plan. Upon graduation, I was going to get a full-time job within four months. While freelancing here and there, I began searching for a permanent writing position. Emails were sent to companies but none were acknowledged. I became anxious and started asking myself if there was something fundamentally wrong with me.

It was a harrowing time in my life as I also began to doubt my abilities and skills. No textbook could possibly help me get over this hurdle. It was my own challenge to face! As if finding a job was not hard enough, I also had to consider my capability and whether the job scope would fulfill personal goals. I tweaked my résumé and cover letters to better accentuate my abilities, which eventually led to a few callbacks. Many writing tests, interviews and tears later, I landed my first full-time job! The route to bagging your very first job can be a lot tougher than you expect but here are some ways to keep your spirits up when you get demoralised.

Focus on your abilities
Employers usually have to go through plenty of résumés before settling on candidates they want to call in for interviews. To make yours stand out, add a dash of personality or colour to your document. You can search for model résumés online or get tips from career portals. Also, spend some time thinking about the positive qualities you want to highlight. For instance, noting down personal accomplishments like “Sportswoman of the Year” or “Best Employee of the Month” reflects good showmanship. When listing down previous job experiences, remember to give a concise yet compelling description of what you have done and achieved with each company.

Know what you want
During your first job search, you may come to a crossroad and have to weigh your priorities. Ask yourself what you really want to gain from your first job. For example, would you want to take up a job that does not pay too well yet provides a rewarding experience? Are factors like location, travel time and working hours important to you? How about stability and work-life balance? Weighing such factors will help you decide on the type of position or job scope that best suits you.

Be realistic
While it is highly important to stay positive and ambitious, being realistic can also save you a lot of time. Read job scopes and requirements thoroughly to avoid disappointment when employers do not call back.

Never give up
There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “Fall seven times, stand up eight”. Rejection is never easy but if you learn to rise above it, the rewards will taste way sweeter than something easily obtained. Being turned down by employers certainly put a dent in my self-esteem but I eventually learned that nothing worthy ever comes easy.

Moral support counts
Get emotional support from your loved ones. My loved ones were really supportive during my job hunt, and without their unconditional love and words of encouragement, I probably would have drowned in self-pity. This is also a good time to see who your true friends really are - they are the ones who stand by you and listen to you moan and groan!

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