The process of searching for a job is a difficult one. From sprucing up your resume, practicing interview answers in front of the mirror, and enduring rejection after rejection—it can get pretty overwhelming.
No matter how much experience you have, job hunting is challenging for both the fresh graduate who’s anxious about making a good impression and the seasoned veteran who hasn’t been in the game for a while.
To make things easier for you, we’ve broken down the process into a step-by-step guide that you can use to tackle each stage of your job search.
You’re looking for a job that fits your area of expertise, so take a good hard look at your skills. List them down together with your interests and strengths in that field. When you have a solid idea of what you’re good at, it’s much easier to sell yourself to the interviewer.
It also helps to write a brief statement explaining why you’re an excellent worker. You can give examples from your part-time job, volunteer work or experience you gained from academic projects. Providing a clear picture of the type of worker you are gives the employer a clear example of how they can manage you and where you fit in their company.
Once you’re sure of your value, it’s time to identify what you want in a career. Many fresh graduates often take the first job they can get without giving thought if it is what they want for their future. While it’s not wrong to jump at the first opportunity, you should consider if your first job is something that you’re okay with doing for the long-term.
Know your career requirements; from your salary, working hours, and location. If you don’t want to work on weekends but choose a job that requires you to work overtime, you may end up quitting early, which really puts a handicap on your career progression. If you’re at a crossroad, you can take our personality test to see what kind of career is a good fit for your personality!
Tip: List down at least 8 to 10 companies in your field that you would enjoy working for. Prioritize applying for positions in these companies before moving on to other options. This gives you a clear goal and narrows down the choices in your job search.
Use the points you made about your skills and strengths to write a resume. Include your work experience and relate how your skills can contribute to the company’s growth. Put your most relevant experience on the top of the list. For example: If you’re applying for a marketing position, don’t put your work experience as a pizza deliveryman before your job as a sales intern.
A cover letter will also help to secure your chances of finding a job. It may not be necessary to land a good job, but it definitely helps to showcase your potential where employers can see not just your skills, but your interests, values, principles, and how they align with the organization’s objectives. A good cover letter should explain the goal of your job search and why your skillset would make a good asset for the company’s growth.
Tip: It’s good practice to tailor your cover letter to each company you’re applying at. Personalize the letter by addressing why you are a good fit for the company and how your skills can contribute to their growth.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking. The pressure of having to impress the interviewer and sell yourself as a viable candidate can backfire if you haven’t done enough preparation beforehand.
Instead of stumbling over your words and enduring awkward silences in between, why not polish your interview skills with a mock session?
Get a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you. Ask them for feedback on your answers and posture, and note down what you can do to improve your body language. Use this opportunity to review your own personal and professional achievements and craft your answers to the most commonly asked interview questions. This way you’ll be prepared and won’t get caught off-guard when the interviewer asks you a question like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
Tip: Create a short opening speech to sell yourself to the interviewer. The statement should briefly cover your work background, skills, and contribution that you can bring to the company.
Once you’re done with all the preparation, it’s time to send your resume out!
Use job search engines like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed to start searching for jobs. Make sure to upload your resume to the popular job portals and include your contact details. Alternatively, you can also seek out specific companies you want to work at and drop them an email to enquire if there’s a vacancy.
Your wide network of friends on social media can come in handy as well. Reach out to your friends and ask if their company has any vacancies available. Even if there is none at the moment, chances are they might know someone who can connect you to other employment opportunities.
Tip: It’s worth to keep a list of all the jobs you applied for so you can recall the details when you get the call. Include the job role, name of the company, date you applied, and stage of the application process in your sheet.
Lastly, don’t forget to follow up with every job you applied for. It usually takes companies one to two weeks to process applications, so if you don’t hear from them within that time frame, drop them an email inquiring about the status of your application. It’s also good practice to email employers just to thank them after an interview. Sometimes, it can be that small thank you note that can make or break an application!
The key is to stay positive and focused during the process. Not every application will be accepted, but with each rejection, you’ll eventually be led to a career that is just right for you.
Stay focused and don’t give up!
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