How to Land a Job after Graduating
By Chai Fook Tien
You will find that even after graduating, your journey has only just begun. You’re now faced with the difficult task of finding a job. This would probably be a huge culture shock for many – after more or less being guided by a structured education system, you’re tossed out into a big open field and expected to find employment.
You may feel lost and unaware of what to do, so here’s a short and handy guide that will help you with finding your first job.
Know What You Want
The biggest mistake people make is not having an idea of what they really want to do. People who go in blindly just wind up using a shotgun approach in their job hunt – randomly applying for jobs and hoping that something hits. You will be wasting your time and energy if you do this, and you might just end up accepting the first job offer that comes along even if it isn’t suitable for you. Avoid that mistake and take time to examine yourself. Find out what you like doing, and even what you hate doing.
Ask yourself what you’re looking for in a job, and start narrowing down your options. Do you want to pursue something related to your interests? What kind of sacrifices are you willing to make? What kind of future do you see for yourself? After answering these important questions, you will find that you can approach your job hunt with more clarity.
Put Together a List of Potential Jobs
Once you know what you want, you have to figure out how you get it. Start by doing research and find out which jobs fit your criteria, then proceed with shortlisting prospective jobs and employers. Find out everything that you can about your potential employers – the culture, hiring process, career progression, work environment, etc. With this information, not only will you become aware of possible employers, you will also be better prepared for future interviews.
Leverage on Your Network
While doing your research, don’t just limit yourself to what you find on the computer screen. Use your connections in order to get the information you need. This may seem like a complicated thing to do, but it actually comes more naturally than you’d expect. Over the course of your life, you’ve probably made connections with many people who can actually help you out with your job search.
Start paying closer attention to your social media accounts – scrutinise your Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts. In all likelihood, someone you know will somehow be connected to your target employers. Whether it’s your friends, your seniors, or your relatives, just talk to them personally and find out more about the jobs that you’re interested in.
It goes without saying, but preparation is essential. With all the work you’ve done beforehand, you should have the required knowledge to succeed. More importantly though, you will need to be emotionally prepared as well. Things don’t always go the way you expect them to. There will always be factors outside of your control. You may get offered less pay than you’ve expected, there may not be any openings at the company you desire, and rejection is always a possibility.
Learn to have the maturity to move beyond your first emotional reaction and try to react logically. No matter what happens, you have to move on and try to discern the best course of action. The first job hunt will probably be the most difficult. But at the end of the day, it is definitely surmountable. So don’t get disheartened and never give up. It’ll all be worth it when you finally get that dream job and begin the next chapter of your life.
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