Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Message to Fresh Graduates of 2009

This is an article I wrote in JobStreet.com Forum for Career & Education .
It's May again, and it is the time when fresh graduates, especially those in public institutions in Malaysia will be hitting the job market. A rough estimation would mean that about 100,000 young and talented workforce will be entering the corporate world (maybe some will be entering the civil service, and that's good!). Some might also decide to further their studies.

Looking at this, my thought would be that in usual years, employers/HR managers will be cheering, because now, they have a lot more talents to tap on. There is a bigger talent pool, that they can rely on.

However for this year, things might be a bit more difficult. I won't say that there won't be any job vacancy. It will be utterly wrong if I say so. There are still a lot of vacancies, but there might be quite a bit fewer than past years. With the talent supply pool stays the same, the competition will only get stiffer. Plus, there might be still some who graduated end of last year/early of this year, or even 1 year ago, who might still be looking for their ideal job. They will be fighting for the same spot as well.

This article is not meant to be an article for me to rant on this, but I hope to constructively share with those who will graduate this year, to really prepare yourself (and for those who will graduate next year or in upcoming years), do prepare as well! Be ready for the challenge!

Some of the tips that I have will be as follow:-
1. Since some of you are still in the midst of final exams or working on your thesis/final projects, do make sure that those are your best efforts. Getting better grade is always a good thing. I won't go into how big the effect of good grades, but it won't harm you having better grades. I am not asking you to just ignore everything and just be a bookworm either.

2. Once you have finished your final exam, do start your job hunt. Start it early! There might be some who will take 3-4 months holiday, to wait for the graduation ceremony, before starting the job search. My advice is that you should have started, and if you haven't, do start now. It is better to be earlier, than later, unless you won't mind being in the job market hunting for it for many months to come. Do remember the tough economic situation that we are facing.

3. Now that you know you have to start your job hunt, you might be wondering what you should be doing. My advice will be for you to prepare your resume. Enhance your resume, and make sure that it doesn't make various mistakes. Do search around other articles within this forum, where there are discussions on common mistakes for resumes . So, look out for those errors. Don't make the same mistakes.

4. Besides resume, do look around for the jobs that you want to apply. Research on the industry, your specialization, and maybe even new opportunities/fields that you want to explore. You are still young, so a lot of opportunities to look around. Don't be too bothered about the long working hours, demanding supervisors, lower pay etc. As a fresh graduate, you ought to learn on the job, and grow professionally and personally. It is about how you can learn from your colleagues, supervisors, and also from your peers.

5. Once you are ready (and hopefully, it is not too long from now), start the actual process of job applications. Using online job boards, like JobStreet.com will be an easy way for you to apply. Do fill up the JobStreet.com template of resume once, and you can use it to apply for all your jobs in your whole life. (Of course, you need to update your resume from time to time). At any moment, there are more than 1,000 jobs for fresh grads. So, grab it before everyone goes for it! You can view the jobs here .

6. Once you apply, do check on the status. You can log onto your jobstreet account, to see whether employers have put you under consideration, or it is still in process. Hopefully, you will get some of the employers to call you up for interview. One of the way to see would be on whether your resumes are viewed (you can know about this when you log into your jobstreet account and look at your application status). If resume view is equal to 0, then it means that you need to enhance on the summary of your resume (using jobstreet template) to attract the employers to view your full resume. If you have some resume views, but not getting any interview, then do enhance your entire resume. Employers check out your resume, but decide not to call you up for interview. If you get some interview opportunities, and can't get the job, then do work on your interview skills.

7. Talking on interview skills, do enhance on it! What's the first question in all interviews? They will most likely ask you to "Introduce yourself". Focus on how you will impress them and highlight your strength when you introduce yourself. It is not about talking on your family, hometown (unless you can use it to strengthen your case on why they should hire you). Talk about specific stuff that gets their attention. And do really research about the company/position, before you go to interview. Be punctual too and be professional. And the last question in interview is always "do you have any question?", and do definitely make sure that you have. That shows your interest and ask intelligent questions. After the interview, don't forget to send the thank you note too. It could be via email, but make sure you do.

Hope that what I wrote here would be of some value to you. Don't forget that it is you, who will decide whether you will get employed or not.

p/s: Oh yeah, I almost miss out on this. Don't forget that all of you are talented people, and you do have talent to showcase to potential employers. So, don't forget to pitch your talent at PitchYourTalent.com . It is the latest job seeker service that we have launched, and as of now, more than 32,000 people have signed up! You can go to the page, and you can see the real current statistic of how many people have already signed up! Do check it out here !
Thanks for reading my long article. Congratulations if you read it from the top till here. Hope to hear from your feedback. Do share any comment/idea/question here. All the best to you! May you get your dream job soon!

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