Back in the 80’s and mid 90’s being in college was a big deal. Companies would actually go to colleges and hire students before they even graduated. That’s when there was this perpetual balance between job opportunities and job seekers. And at times, job opportunities would actually exceed job seeker numbers, so everyone was quite happy back then. But now, things have changed. Being fresh from college does not guarantee you job opportunities. In fact, you’re likely to be greeted by a flurry of challenges such as...
- An oversupply of similar competence skills - Ever since higher education became the universal salvation for getting meaningful employment, things have not been rosy for graduates. To begin with, universities are increasing their admission capacities despite the fact that job market opportunities are dwindling. End result is massive unemployment because of an oversupply of similar competence skills. And things keep getting worse every year because the same mistake is being repeated over and over again. The last time I checked, unemployment rates worldwide currently vary between 40-60% and are still growing. This has in turn brought about...
- Lack of Transparency in Job Recruitment Exercises - Companies have also realized the magnitude of this dilemma. Even after having short-listed candidates, companies still find it hard to determine the suitable one because they’re all equally competent. End result is that companies now find it justifiable to manipulate recruitment exercises. This of course would taint their image so they prefer being discreet. And rarely will you find companies stating how they chose the suitable candidate. This trend has not escaped the prying eyes of job seekers. It’s no wonder there is...
- Ever-increasing competition - There has been a very peculiar trend lately with job seekers. According to recent statistics, many job seekers have actually QUIT looking for jobs. Yes, they’re unemployed but still, they’re not looking for jobs. And I think it has a lot to do with ever- increasing competititon which is quite discouraging to say the least. And as I mentioned earlier, manipulation of recruitment exercises has become the norm these days. Consequently, you’ll find candidates using powerful connection to clinch jobs. This makes competition even more unfair and we’re seeing this trend a lot. For instance, you’ll find competent candidates roaming the streets looking for jobs as many incompetent ones get hired almost immediately because their uncle/aunt/mum/dad happens to be a big executive in their company.
- Ever-changing Employer needs - There has also been a challenge of obsolete degrees. You’ll find universities stubbornly offering the same outdated degrees despite the fact that employer needs have evolved by leaps and bounds. This means that once such a graduate hits the job market, then they’ll have to change their career path altogether. This re-adjustment takes them back to square one where they’ll have to start pursuing another degree just to remain relevant and indispensable. It’s no wonder some graduates are quite knowledgeable, yet their knowledge is simply irrelevant to the needs of the current job market.
How then does one land that first job fresh from college?
#1 Be Generous
At times, competition isn’t the only way to land that first job fresh from college. It might call for you to go a step further and be generous with your services. For instance, let’s say that a big firm has always been receiving this horde of job applications. But then you come along and present yourself as an intern. Yes you might be paid less, but that experience and exposure is what counts. Plus, if the company notices that you’re loyal, dedicated and hard-working, then they might be compelled to upgrade your status to permanent employment. For others, it might be volunteering just to gain the much needed exposure which would actually look good on their CV.
#2 Avoid the Trends of the Masses
When people make excuses, the first word that comes up is ’EVERYONE’. Everyone does this and that. Everyone is going this way and that way. Well how about we start with the fact that you’re not everyone. In fact, the moment everyone becomes your center of attention, then you loose your stand. Plus, peer influence can be quite strong if you’re not careful. So it wouldn’t hurt to go your own separate way and do things differently. Besides volunteer services and internship, you can actually go ahead and start a side-gig just to gain some experience as you anticipate for that meaningful job. As long as you don’t ’compete like the rest’, then you’ll avoid nursing unnecessary wounds that really should have been avoided.
#3 Build on your Connections and Career Acquaintances
The biggest mistake that graduates make is going solo in job seeking. Now, I don’t necessarily advocate for back-door tactics but all the same, blind faith will almost guarantee you consistent rejection. So don’t feel guilty about building a fortress of connections and career acquaintances around you. In any case, you’ll need contingency measures when things go south. But that’s not all. Some recruitment exercises don’t involve job interviews at all. It’s all a matter of who knows who. And if you know the right people, then recommendations will keep flying in.
I can guarantee you at this very moment that you’re likely to fight a bruising battle if you merely depend on competition to land that first job. It’s a wild west out there and competition is quite unfair to say the least. As Faqimi Fauzi once said, "Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people."
Image Credit: Graduation Month by Kony 99.9 FM