Just because you’ve got your qualification, don’t think that employers are waiting for you outside the graduation hall. That may have been true once, but it isn’t anymore.
Is there much competition? What about all those others who graduated with you? They’re wanting the same job that you are. So how do you make yourself stand out from them?
And where are all the jobs anyway? According to recent statistics, the 10 fastest growing jobs in the US are in just a handful of industries. So first you’ve got to find a job to apply for.
This page has advice about how to get a job, and lists schools and programs in case you need to upgrade your qualifications.
If you are serious about getting a job, you need to be serious about finding one
The first step is to find jobs that are available. Don’t expect to get your “ideal job” and don’t expect to get the first job you apply for. You’ll probably have to apply for many jobs so you’ll need to find a lot of adverts for vacancies. To do this use multiple strategies. For example:
- Look at the sort of things you can do with your major. Use web sites such as this “What can I do with this major/degree?” to help you.
- Use the internet to search for job listings in your area of expertise (e.g., JobSearchUSA.org). Often you can enter your job profile on such sites and they will send you details of jobs that meet your criteria.
- Search the newspapers and professional magazines for job details. Sometimes these listings are online as well.
- Make sure that you are on relevant email discussion lists.
- Use job agencies.
Whilst you are looking for a job that you are really interested in, make sure that you are doing something other than staying in bed late. Try to obtain a job part-time, take hourly work, do short term jobs, take short courses, do voluntary work – do anything that you can put on your CV to show that you are resourceful, can keep time, work in a team, engage with peers, know about the demands of the workplace and generally understand what work is all about. The discipline required to get up and get to work on time everyday also does something for your mental condition as well – it keeps your brain sharper, working and alert. This is noticeable in interviews.
If you can’t find a temporary job whilst you are looking, then try improving your academic qualifications – browse for suitable schools and programs at the foot of the page.
Applying for a job: Your CV or Resume
Your CV or Resume is central to the process of applying for a job. It lists the basic information about you: personal data; academic qualifications; professional registrations; educational history; work history; community work; interests; and any other relevant data.
Letter of application or covering letter
When applying for a job, it is no good just listing what you have got (as you do in the CV or Resume). I’m afraid that you are going to have to “sell” your qualities in your application for the job. This means looking at the list of criteria for the job, and methodically working through them to make sure that you write something on each one in the Letter of Application or Covering Letter, i.e., picking out aspects of your learning that address each particular criterion.
To go one step further, research the company or organization. Work out how your strengths can help the organization and be used in achieving their strategic goals or objectives.
Many of the skills you acquire in a course are generic rather than specific and so will transfer easily into employment in any job. These generic skills include the ability to write reports and essays, to give presentations, to work as part of a team, problem-solving, networking skills, to work individually, and to manage your time effectively. Employers are usually looking for these skills, so when you’re applying for a job, make the most of the experience and skills you obtained in and outside of your course.
If you don’t have all the qualifications required, then seriously consider upgrading by attending college or university, either online or on campus. Browse for schools and programs at the foot of the page.
Making sure the selection panel wants to know more
If you have some areas that you are particularly strong on, write about them briefly in your Letter of Application or Covering Letter, and also suggest that you would welcome the opportunity to talk more about these in an interview. For example, you might write:
“One of the problems I faced in job X was getting the group members to work as a team. I found an interesting way to overcome this and we went on to win the team prize.”
A statement like that is almost bound to result in the interview question “So what did you do?” These statements are “bait” that you place so that you can, to some extent, control the interview – if you are short-listed by the Selection Panel.
You’re being interviewed!! So you’ve researched all the jobs, applied for a job, been shortlisted and now you’re going to be interviewed for a job. This page is about how to succeed in an interview for a job. This is the third step in “getting a job” and is probably the hardest.
Preparation for being interviewed
Don’t just walk into the interview unprepared. You must spend time researching and rehearsing thoroughly for the interview.
Here are some tips on preparing for an interview:
- Think beforehand about the questions you are likely to be asked.
- If you placed some “bait” (hints that you could say more) in your application or covering letter, then prepare your interview answers to these thoroughly.
- Continue with your research on the company or organization. Work out how your strengths can help them or be used and how you can weave this into any questions you might be asked.
- In your preparation for being interviewed, think of at least one likely question for each of the criteria for the job and make sure that you have an answer for each one.
The Interview itself
Don’t treat the interview as if it were a chat with your neighbor. You must think carefully about and moderate your verbal and non-verbal behavior at all times.
- Arrive early and appropriately dressed for being interviewed.
- When asked to walk into the room, do so confidently, but not arrogantly.
- Be prepared to shake hands but not surprised if simply asked to sit. Don’t sit unless asked to do so.
- Try to remember the names of the interviewers when introduced, and then use them in your answers.
- Address your answer initially to the interviewer who asked it, but then also turn to include all the other interviewers.
- Keep your answers short and to the point. Do not be afraid to ask for a repeat of the question if you did not hear or understand.
- Never argue with the interviewer.
- Be aware of non-verbal communication – such as that indicating that they would like to finish and move to the next interview.
- When asked if you have any questions or further points you would like to make, what are the interview questions to ask? Well, do not ask about holidays and pay. Instead, use this part of being interviewed as an opportunity to bring out any of your knowledge and strengths that have not been covered in the interview. Or use it to emphasize your main strengths. But do not talk for long – remember that there are probably several others being interviewed after you.
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