By Shubika Bilkha
Beginning a job hunt can be overwhelming to say the least.
The proliferation of job portals has increased the spectrum of opportunity and democratized a process that was typically managed by career centers and recruitment agencies. This has in turn placed an added onus on graduates or job seekers who need to wade through the options and be responsible to manage all aspects of the job search process.
What makes a job search even harder for graduates is that it trudges on the unknown. With no experience, young graduates have little visibility on how long it will take for them to secure their first role.
While it is easy to get absorbed in the world of prospects, it is equally essential that job seekers approach the process in a systematic and organized manner, something that is easily overlooked. Having clear systems in place will improve the speed of their responses, track the status of applications, help in better evaluation, put them in a position to identify trends of what is/isn’t working and really be the first step towards imbibing a level of professionalism that employers are looking for.
Some suggestions on how graduates can organize their search better are as follows:
Stop hunting for 24 hours and get all your ducks in a row
Take a day off from looking for vacancies and just get organized. The investment of time will pay off in the search process.
Get your documentation in place
Write that resume, have your cover letter ready, round up references and create a folder of your certificates/accomplishments/support materials/portfolio. Remember that you will need to customize your documentation for every employer!
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice your story and repeat it to friends/family/professors’/placement officers for their input. Make sure you have a mental list of your core values, strengths, areas of improvement with live examples of where you have demonstrated them in your life. Visit portals that talk about difficult interview questions and ask peers/recent graduates about the challenging questions they were posed at their interviews.
Don’t forget to get that wardrobe ready for your interviews!
Establish a plan of attack to follow
Between job boards, career fairs, recruitment drives/seminars, networking, agencies and the placement cell, it is essential that you focus and prioritize to ensure that you maximize your chances of nailing that dream job.
Build a system
Design a system that is easy for you to use- could be on excel, spider diagrams or any other format. Just make sure it resonates with you and is a simple way for you to track opportunities, requirements, make note of key contacts, upcoming interviews and feedback. Also have a self-improvement list of what you could have done better.
Clarify your Search Premise
In the midst of the job search process candidates can often get overwhelmed and lose sight of their key motivation. Answer these key questions of “What is my Life Purpose?”, “What is my Dream?” and “The reason I want a job is….”. Keep them to hand as a reminder of your key motivator on a bad day!
And most importantly, manage your expectations and get a grip on any disappointment. All experience is a form of learning after all!
About the Author
Shubika Bilkha is currently the Founding Partner of Edpower-U.She is a dynamic entrepreneur, media spokesperson, author and corporate advisor with experience that spansthe financial, technology, ecommerce, education and real estate sectors in India and Internationally. As the managing Director of two early stage start-ups in technology and education, Shubika has hands on experience in all aspects of these businesses and has worked with a number of leaders across industry, government and the educational ecosystem in India and the UK.
She is also a published author with her first book widely distributed. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. She is currently in the process of receiving her Professional Coaching Accreditation in line with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) ACC guidelines.