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Tips for Job-hunting Graduating College Students

It is late March. Apart from the increasingly hot days and the start of summer vacation for many young people, it is also the season for graduation in schools all over the country. For the younger students, graduation is merely a stepping stone into a higher level of education. However, for many college graduates around the country, graduation opens a whole new dimension: that of the world of work. Here, I compile ten points that may be of help to all graduating college students:

  1. Take a break. That is, if you can afford it. I can understand the impatience of fresh college graduates to jump right into the world of work. However, understand that for many who do get work, the next truly meaningful break will not be until after thirty or forty years later. The allure of earning one’s own pay may appear addictive; but it will also come with the pressures and tensions that naturally come part and parcel with work, whether one is employed by a company or self-employed. One or two months of lazing around will not harm your prospects.
  2. Sell yourself. With a good résumé, that is. If you don’t know how to make one, why? At any rate, you can always turn to MS Word’s templates as a fallback; and you have got to be from the Dark Ages if you don’t know how to find these. Depending on the company that you will be sending the résumé to, yours may be one of hundreds that the company receives, particularly now that it is job application season. Get to the point and highlight your skills as well as other relevant information that may help persuade employers to hire you. HR personnel can be extremely busy people; so don’t delude yourself that they will be inspired to read about some silly seminar that you attended as part of your college curriculum. In other words, keep your résumé brief but meaty.
  3. Get an online job site account. If you still don’t have one, why? They’re usually free for job hunters, anyway. While newspaper classified ads still have value, the advantage of online job accounts is that they deliver relevant job openings straight into your inbox. Make sure, though, that your account is properly filled out. That is, with regards your personal information as well as your target jobs. You don’t want Nursing job openings being sent to you when you are a Computer Science major.
  4. Set the right target job. This may seem exceedingly obvious; but you will be surprised how many people still cannot see the obvious. Remember that you are a fresh-graduate; so it has got to be an extremely desperate company – which is dangerous, anyway – to hire a fresh graduate for a management position. In other words, it only makes sense for a fresh graduate to target an entry level job; and preferably, one that will make use of all the knowledge and skills that you acquired from your college education.
  5. Send in that résumé. What is the point of making it if it is sitting inside your hard drive being of absolutely no use to you? Don’t be intimidated by the experience required by many companies in their job ads. What is there to lose? Not because a company says it requires experience will it mean that they will, indeed, get applicants who have that desired experience. At the very least, you introduce yourself to the company’s HR with your résumé; and most companies maintain manpower databases, anyway. You just never know when an opening will come about that will be perfect for you.
  6. Verify the company that calls you. Particularly if it is one that you have not heard of before. In this day and age, every self-respecting company ought to have a web site or, at least, some online presence. It is never a bad idea to determine what you are getting yourself into; and any of the search engines will probably yield something that will indicate if the company that calls you is legitimate or not. If the person who calls you does not introduce himself or herself, make it a point to ask for a name. You can use the search engines to verify the person’s authenticity as well. These days, one just can never be too careful even about job hunting.
  7. Dress up well when you are invited by a company. Although, whatever your guidance counsellors taught you in career development, corporate attire is not necessarily long-sleeved shirts, tie and slacks. There are many companies, in fact, for which the corporate attire is a pair of blue denims and a white shirt; and these are very large companies, mind. Personally, I suggest dressing up ‘decently’ and neatly. At the very least, a clean pair of jeans – no tears! – and a collared shirt. At the end of the day, your exams and your overall personality and demeanour are what you will be judged by.
  8. Relax when you take that test. But then you know that. Fresh from college, you will know that people do badly in exams sometimes not because of lack of knowledge but because of nervousness. The fact that you will be taking an exam for a job is no reason to be nervous. It is just like any other exam that you were given in college. Follow the normal rules in taking exams; among others, don’t get stuck with one item. Move on from the problematical questions and then return to these if you have time. Believe in yourself, else what is the point?
  9. Converse in the language you are comfortable with. That is, if you get as far as the interview stage; and this is depending on the company and the job requirements. Unless the job that you applied for is language-dependent, then the purpose of the interview is to determine your personal outlooks and your personality. Personally, I used to be so turned off by applicants who insisted on slaughtering the English language even when I made it a point to speak to them in Filipino.
  10. Know what you will be getting. Not all companies will tell you what you will be getting before they hire you, sad to say. This is wrong! Every job hunter should be accorded the courtesy of the right to refuse. The purpose of getting a job, after all, is to earn something to get by and probably have a little left over for the future. If your pay is defeated by the economics of living, then what is the point? Unless you are simply after the experience or if you want a monument built in your honour along EDSA… Ask! There is nothing wrong about this. Do your computations. If the pay is not enough to get by, politely say thank you and start over. You have the benefit of being young. There will always be another company somewhere.
P.S.: Feel free to share this with fellow graduating college students. The tips may yet come in handy.

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