With rising competition and worsening economy, not just in Pakistan but all around the world, it is becoming difficult for current graduates to land a job, let alone a dream one. You see some of the brightest minds, with exceptionally good academic records, jobless for months and years on end after their graduation. What is worse is that after a couple of jobless years, they become redundant as it is, with fresh graduates brining in new set of skills for employers.
While luck may play a part in landing your dream job, graduates, nowadays, need to understand that the process of job hunting starts way before they become graduates. As a student, you need to start building your portfolio and catch a potential employer’s attention, way before your academics end. Here are ten things every graduate should do to land a dream job.
1. Be Diverse
One of the most common mistakes that graduates make is focusing only on the academic part of the university. Worse, Pakistan’s lesser known universities do not encourage otherwise either. To be an ideal candidate for a job, you need to be diverse; take part in extracurricular activities and voluntary work. While potential employers will look at your academic credit hours, they also need to know that you can contribute more than just that to their organization.
2. Your Academic Results
Being diverse and taking part in other activities does not mean that you fail in your academic subjects. You need to get good results at that end too. This shows your employer that while doing extra credit work, working part time or doing voluntary work, you still managed to get excellent marks. This reflects how good you are at time management.
3. Team Work
It is important to learn how to work as a team to better fit in a work environment and learning begins at school. Taking part in group activities and showing that you are a good sport is extremely important. This shows that not only are you able to share responsibility for any good or bad result that comes your way but also reflects your ability to complement other team members and accept constructive criticism to grow on the whole.
4. Leadership Skills
Taking the involvement in a team project to the next level and becoming a good leader is yet another important thing to do while at university. Being a team member gives you part responsibility for the project at hand; being a leader gives you the entire brunt of task. It helps you build your management skills, helps assure your potential employers that you are dependable enough to be in charge and most importantly, you are willing to take liability for whatever comes your way.
5. Work Experience
You might not have time for part time work during your studies, especially given the tough academic environment at Pakistani universities but you can still do internships online or during your semester breaks. There are literally hundreds of opportunities online and offline in Pakistan to start testing out your skills in a practical environment. A common mistake that students make in this area is that they reject opportunities that do not pay well or do not give them sufficient work responsibilities. What they fail to realize is that working anywhere is better than not working at all. Any opportunity even remotely related to your field of choice comes up, take it. Working experience while studying shows your potential employer that you are a well-rounded candidate, can manage to do both and most importantly, your training as an employee has already begun.
6. Filling Out Forms And CV
Yet another common mistake Pakistani students especially make is skipping out sections when filling out applications for work and creating a CV. You need to document everything properly and well enough to sell your persona to the reader. Filling out sections that require you to describe yourself, your skills set, your strengths and weaknesses and answer the ever popular question where you see yourself in ten years is critically important.
7. Employment Tests
Some organizations and hiring institutes require graduates to take tests to attest their employability. While most candidates do extremely well in the general sections, they fail to perform well on other tests like numeracy, pattern recognition and psychometric sections. If you are up for a graduate program or using a recruitment agency to find a job, be prepared for such tests.
8. Interview Tests
During an interview, most employers ask questions that serve as tests to analyze your skills set. They might simply ask you a question related to your field, give you a paper and pen to solve a problem or present you with a case scenario to see how you would solve the problem at hand. Now, what you need to realize is that the right answer is not as important as your readiness and motivation to solve the problem. Most candidates are not prepared for such tests and are taken by surprise when asked to do so, reflecting their nervousness and lack of preparation. When presented with such an interview, do not hesitate; give it your best shot and be confident in whatever answer you present, while showing that you are willing to learn if you are wrong.
9. Potential Employer
Yet another extremely common mistake graduates make when they go for interviews is not knowing about the company they are applying at. The interviewer has hundred of interviews to go through, if he or she needs to explain to you where you have come and give you an organization background, then you are probably not the right candidate. Learn everything that you can about the company you are applying at; show that you are interested to become a part of the organization and it is not just one of the hundred companies you are applying at.
10. Be creative
During interviews, remember to be creative; think outside the box and show that you are there to bring in fresh blood to their organization. What you have learnt at university is just a small part of how you will need to perform in the practical life. Show your potential employer you have knowledge beyond your academics, you are passionate about the industry and willing to demonstrate new ideas for improvements.