Job Search Tips for Recent Grads
By Abimanyu Singam
So you have graduated. Congratulations!
There couldn’t be a better time to look for a job. Unemployment rate in Canada is the lowest in three decades. 97,000 new jobs were created in May in Canada and pushed the unemployment rate down 0.3 % points to 6.1 per cent, the lowest rate since December 1974.
So the prospects are good. But you have to have the right tools, the right attitude, and the right network to land the dream job that you have readied yourself for.
1. Know your budget
Before you start applying for various positions, know your budget. How much do you need on a monthly basis to take care of all your financial needs? You need to factor in things like rent, food, clothing, transportation and other expenses such as student loan repayment, credit card payments, entertainment etc.
2. Budget your time
Plan ahead and allocate at least two hours/day for job hunting. During those two hours, focus on sending applications, following up with past contacts, informing your network about your interests, cold calling companies, surfing the net and searching for prospective employers.
3. Job Search
It is said that 80% of available jobs are not advertised. So, how do you land those jobs? How do you penetrate the “hidden job market”?
Career Centre - Register at your University or College’s career centre and be on their mailing list. This way you will not only get to know about the job openings that are sent to the career centre but also about job/career related events
Contact your alumni association or your college/university friends who may now be working in different companies to find out about job prospects.
Contact companies directly – it will be hard to pick up the phone and make a cold call and it is time consuming to do a research on the company but that is the most efficient way and it is worth your best shot.
Extend your network – Tell the ‘world’ that you are looking for a job. Approach people who work at companies that you are interested in and convey your qualifications and eagerness to work at their company.
Attend job fairs – Attend job fairs to not only connect with a Human Resources professionals but also to know about the opportunities available and specific skills sought by companies that you are interested in. Connect with HR professionals and follow-up with them after the job fairs.
Online – If you are interested in a particular company, apply directly through the website. You will also be able to get information about companies that are hiring at a particular time by browsing through the job search sites
Classified Newspaper ads – Scan through these ads to find out about the various opportunities in companies that are of interest to you.
Career or workology sections – In most of the news papers job postings appear on Wednesday or Thursday.
Go where the work is – Most employers post their job openings on their bulletin boards and not in newspapers or on the internet.
Visit your nearest employment resource centre or job finding club
4. Preparing for an Interview
Practice – Sign up for mock interview sessions at your educational institution’s career centre and learn how to over-come interview jitters. This also gives you the opportunity to rehearse your answers for specific questions and to receive feedback on how to better respond.
Research – You can get to know about the company that you would like to work, their primary line of work, structure, growth pattern etc by just browsing through their websites.
Get primped and be on time – First impression is very important and you want to look your best for the interview. Get a haircut, buy a suit, look your best. Research where you will be going (you can do that online at http://www.mapquest.ca)" rel="nofollow">LINK and plan your trip. You can call the TTC at 416 393 INFO for bus routes to locations in the city.
Rest – Get a good night’s sleep before the day of the interview.
Unique proposition – What are the top three skills that you offer to the employers that other jobseekers don’t. You should also be able to relate how those three skills, in your opinion, can benefit the employer. Think about this and rehearse your statements.
Develop some intelligent questions – You will be asked at some point in time if you have any questions. Have a couple of questions ready. You can also add one or two from the discussion at the interview itself.
5. Facing the Interview Panel
When facing an interview panel, keep the following points in mind:
Hiring managers would like to hear how your experience would benefit their employee need. So, when communicating by email, phone, or in person you should be able to relate your experience to the job in hand. The experiences don’t necessarily have to be paid positions. Internships, co-op, volunteer activities, extra-curricular activities all matter.
Fit in the team
Most of the employers also like to hire individuals that will fit in their team. If you are given an opportunity to elaborate on your “fit”, talk about your team work experiences. If you play a team sport, and if you feel that is relevant, talk about that. Your ability to identify with the objectives of the enterprise will also help them see your attitude and goals in life, so talk about that.
Your educational background and its relevance to the job in hand is another factor that weighs on managers’ mind when they make their decisions about hiring. Be specific about the degree or diploma that you have. It is also good to talk about the GPA, if you feel that comfortable with that. Managers also like to see the kinds of courses that you have taken, the projects that you have been involved in, and thesis that you have finished. Briefly talk about these aspects in your resume.
Overall preparedness and enthusiasm
Recently I had sent out a job posting and received about 30 resumes. It took me a while to short list the resumes and was about to hand it over to the secretary to invite them to an interview, a candidate dropped by. She presented herself well and wanted to find out if she had been short-listed. I wasn’t able to tell her whether she had or had not been. She then informed me that the reason why she decided to drop by was to find out the reasons for her not being on the list of candidates. I liked her enthusiasm and gave her an interview. The interview panel liked her and hired her. Moral of the story is that not all the HR managers like applicants dropping by, you need to, however, communicate your enthusiasm for the job. If you are at an interview, let it show. Let them know about your enthusiasm for the position and for the company.
Another important factor is being prepared for the interview. Come prepared to discuss how your qualifications can specifically contribute to the success of the company.
Also, managers get to see if you have done your homework on the company and the position being hired for by the types of question you ask. So, plan well.
Finally it is important that you don’t let a few “no responses” affect you. Always think positive and try again.
You have successfully survived three years of University/College, you can do this too!
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