This is graduation season and one batch of final year students from universities all over the world has just completed their tour on the education conveyor belt and getting into the “real-world.”
A proportion of this batch would have already landed their first job way before completing their final examination. But a significant remaining proportion will only start looking after their examinations.
This group of fresh graduates will take some time to land their first job. And graduates in this latter group will also be prone to taking the first offer that comes along because of …
One student I know was offered a job recently in an advertising firm.
The job required Monday to Saturday work, at least 10 hours of work and paid significantly below market rate although the pay fulfills minimum hourly wage.
The student was quick to take it the job (In fact, he starts today) because he has been job-hunting for one month without any success.
I joked that he didn’t do “job-hunting” for a month. Instead, he had been “job-waiting” for a month.
You see, for “job-hunting” to be effective, you really do need to go out to hunt the job.
Look at it this way: If you were hunting for a wild boar, would you stay at home or go out into the part of the forest known to have the most wild boars?
My point is that if you really want that particular kind of job, then it is your job as a job-hunter to market yourself to the potential employers. And I don’t mean sending your resume and job-application letter.
Marketing yourself in the job market involves one thing and one thing only:
Making it clear why you are valuable to employers.
Therein lies the problem.
Most fresh graduates have no idea how they can be different and valuable to employers. They have been produced as a standard product in the education factory.
But that doesn’t mean you cannot begin to figure where and what areas you wish to specialize it. You can even specialize in being a generalist!
Whatever it is, it is vitally important to articulate your specialty to employers and in particular, what kind of problems you can solve effectively and the corresponding benefits you can bring as a member of the team.
Don’t go begging for a job and take any one that comes along. Knowing your value and strengths in an area you wish to focus in, continue to build on them throughout your career and find opportunities to profile and highlight them.
This way, you are branding yourself and this will be your first step towards an automatic career progression.