YOU are a fresh graduate in the process of getting a job which would move you on to a career path that could be what you have always dreamed about. This may remain a dream unless you seriously think about what you want to do and with which organisation. Remember there are thousands of graduates who have similar qualifications and there is no reason for you to be special.
The bottom line is that we live in a tough world and it is especially tough for those who are not professionally qualified or skilled. Did you know that a skilled tile layer earns more than a budding lawyer? Or if you were a computer whizz, you will be snapped up with you dictating the benefit package? So whether you are a first-time job hunter or aiming for a change of work, look at yourself and the business world. You may find the job of your dreams but if you fall short, learn to compromise.
Do you fit in? This is the crucial question. Do you fit in the job you have selected? Fresh graduates tell me that they send up to 95 applications for each job vacancy. You may get called for an interview only to realise that it was not the job you were looking for. The other thing you may do, out of desperation, is take the job and then develop a bad attitude that make everyone in the office wish they could make you disappear. The sad situation is that young Malaysians go to interviews with no preparation and even worse, no skills.
So do you want to find a meaningful job? Take a look at the following and see if you are doing things right.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What attitudes do you possess? What kind of job are you looking for?
What are your skills and experience? Do you have good language skills? Were you a star student in college, doing things other than your studies? What extra-curricular activities did you participate in? I know of a person who got employed in an accountant’s firm not merely due to his grades (which were good) but because he played cricket for school and the big boss played cricket too!
What kind of job are you looking for? Something that involves creativity or that takes you out of the office all the time (yes you could be an office assistant too) or that is a routine task-based nine to fiver?
What kind of company would you like to work in? Will you chose a gender-biased, race-biased organisation or a multi-ethnic company?
Do you have a plan with regard to the job you are looking at? Is this a temporary one or is it one which will allow you to grow and learn so that you can build a career?
What are your life goals? Do you think making money is the most important thing or do you want to learn more about a trade so that you can work towards a career that will give you greater income later?
What does success mean to you? Is it being very rich or having a great job that is fulfilling or both? Very few people achieve the latter.
Business etiquette has a lot to do with a job search. Finding the path to employment includes meeting people, communicating what you are capable of doing and proving to your co-workers that you are a good person to have around. Learning all about business etiquette gives you confidence and focuses on the skills and tasks required to get that job.
Look around you and see the changes that have taken place in the workplace. Organisations are moving towards a structure of team work and collaboration. Employees have to understand the importance of working together, irrespective of race or religion. There is a trend towards hiring people for their “intellectual property” and “skill”. There are corporate rules that need to be learnt and played. A workable corporate culture is vital for the success of the company and if you join, then you must learn what works and what does not.
Finding a job that fits you depends on the impression you make at the interview. This is where your knowledge of business etiquette comes into play. Do you know that good manners are simply common sense? It helps social interaction and your ability to interview well.
Our Deputy Prime Minister talked of employees being loyal to the organisations that hired them. To a certain extent he is right but loyalty is a two-way process. Loyalty is earned and if the employee is expected to be loyal then the employer is duty bound to give the employee a career path or at least have a process for a career path.
No one wants too many changes with regard to looking for work but if you do not have the chance for career advancement in five years you have to move unless you are happy where you are and happy doing the job you do. It is also important to remember that there are dead end jobs in organisations that need to be done and if you find that you “fit”, best of luck.
Looking at whether you fit or not and asking yourself searching questions will basically give you time to view a potential job and also allow you the chance to see who you really are and what you can do. Most young graduates really have no clue to the demands of the working world and even the best paying jobs involve you doing things you do not like.
I remember my first job when I became a teacher 33 years ago. The principal of the school told me that I was in charge of the football team, the one game I knew nothing about. He only allowed me to take charge of another game when he realised that he had given the football coach the task of training the netball team. We swapped our roles and won the tournaments. But for one week I learnt how to play and coach football.