How to Build Your Career in 2020
Many articles on career advice hardly help fresh graduates. This is due to the fact that fresh grads begin with a clean slate—with just a diploma and an on-the-job training experience. Some fresh grads have the advantage of having a few work experiences from summer jobs, part-time jobs, and volunteering experiences.
With more opportunities opening up due to global trading, local talents are now able to tap into international trades and businesses. These opportunities open doors for fresh graduates to take on opportunities from international companies that can jumpstart their careers.
It is important to know that nothing compares to having actual work experience. The concept you have about full-time jobs is hardly justified by on-the-job training and part-time experiences.
Here’s our best advice on what steps you should take next to start your career:
Find Your Direction
Have you thought of what exactly you’d be doing right after college? If you have, then great! If you haven’t, don’t worry. Most fresh graduates don’t have an idea of what to pursue right after graduation.
You don’t have to have it all planned out. You just need to pick a direction when searching for job vacancies. Just start with something. If you find yourself veering in another direction, then change directions until you find your passion.
There are many applicants blindly searching through job listings for the sake of applying. Don’t go the same route. Recruiters look for applicants that are ready to commit to their companies for as long as possible. Take time to think about what you’d like to pursue. Consider your hobbies, your passion, and your degree.
The next step is to get to a place where you’re more than 50% sure that it’s something you can do for the next year or two. Commit to it, at least for a while, until you start getting a clearer picture of what you want to do. Nobody is immediately 100% sure when choosing their first job.
“I’ve only applied for content writing positions for my first job. I’ve searched for other job opportunities however, writing is something I’ve always been comfortable with. Even then, I wasn’t so sure about it. But here I am now and I’m glad I’ve stuck to writing.”
– Claire, Content Writer
Talk To Your Network
Each role entails a different set of tasks and accomplishments set by the company. To get a realistic view of what work is actually like, set a meeting to talk with professionals in your network.
The question is who do you talk to first? Start with the people who graduated a few years ahead of you. Their first entry-level job experiences can help you gain much-needed insight into the career-building process.
You can also ask your parents’ friends and colleagues to meet with you for a chat. Their seniority and long working experience can guide you to make better career decisions. They have likely gone through many challenges and can share stories of triumphs and losses.
Update Your CV
Make it a habit to constantly update your CV. As a fresh grad, you may think that you have no valid experiences to add to your CV. You’re wrong. Your internship, part-time job, and volunteer stint are considered work experiences. It may seem like a short job history but these work experiences helped develop your professional skills.
List your work history from the most recent job experience to the earliest. Mention the company name, your position, and the length of your stay there. Remember to add job details such as your responsibilities and your achievements from your previous companies.
“I make it a habit to regularly update my resume. There is something to learn at work all the time. My tasks and responsibilities scale too. It’s important to include all that in my resume. This is the reason why I regularly update my resume.”
– Adrian, SEO Specialist
Be Open To All Opportunities
There are job vacancies that may seem tailored to you. It’s okay to prioritise these opportunities but never close the door on other ones. Think of it this way: if you pass on the other opportunities and didn’t get the job, you have nothing to fallback to. You’ll be back at square one, repeating the process of job hunting once again.
It’s important to keep the momentum going when trying to land a job. Be open to other opportunities as they can be a better option to start building your career. There’s no point in putting all your eggs in one basket if the final say isn’t yours.
Talk About Your Experiences
The most common mistake applicants do during an interview is talking about what’s in their resume. When recruiters say, “tell me about yourself”, speak about your other professional experiences. Talk about crucial moments wherein you helped your team resolve an issue or that time you directed your co-workers to meet a deadline. Share stories that matter like when you got promoted.
For fresh graduates, talk about your thesis and your defence. Mention the social projects that required you and your classmates to put in hours to finish. You can also share your experiences working with different people in your field when you were interning.
No matter how little you think of a job, an experience is still an experience. Don’t shy away from sharing your stories because all experiences are stepping stones of success.
“Always talk about something that isn’t written in your resume. Talk about your accomplishments, share stories from your previous job experience, and such. Note that recruiters and hiring managers already know what’s in your resume. It’s a requirement for us to read them before inviting you for an interview. So the next time you’re asked to share something about yourself, talk about the highlight of your career.”
– Joan, Account Manager
Have The Right Attitude
Having the right attitude makes a difference everywhere. It can help you land a job, stay with a company for a long time, and even get in line for a promotion.
The attitude you bring to work is a big factor for your success. Incessant whining or complaining can be a turn-off for a co-worker and an employer. It can also affect everyone else’s productivity and your own.
An attitude of positivity and gratitude takes you a long way professionally and personally. It impacts your way of life. It creates an uplifting atmosphere in your workplace and builds great work relationships.
“Again and again, we’ve proven that character matters. Many applicants fail during the interview because of their attitudes. There are also instances when clients have to let go of an employee because of their behaviour. Keep the right mindset and attitude towards life and work because it’s a vital ingredient to succeed in life.”
– Ariel, Country Manager
These pieces of advice can help you right away. Find your rhythm and start shaping your career to have a better future.