Finding Your First Job
To help you out with your first job, here are a few steps that are essential for success.
Any-one faced with the daunting task of finding their first job is likely to find themselves in a quandary of perplexing proportions. Their CVs are thin if not non-existent, their industry knowledge is limited and their contacts in the business world are few and far between. The good news is that a record number of jobs in Middle East region exist for fresh college grads and with the roaring economies of the Persian Gulf and the emphasis on training, human resource development and growing from within, this is unlikely to abate soon. To help you out with your first job, here are a few steps that are essential for success provided by the career experts at the Middle East's #1 job site Bayt.com.
You will not sound very convincing to a prospective employer if you are not convinced yourself of your strengths and weaknesses and that you will be an asset to his team. Take the time to understand what types of jobs interest you, what areas you enjoy and excel in and what skills/competencies you have that can translate in meaningful ways to the jobs you are applying for. Prepare an honest detailed personal inventory of your unique skills, strengths and weaknesses and use it to hone in on the industry, companies and positions you think you can do best in.
Various books are available for fresh grads and people contemplating a career transition that help you identify your areas of strength and steer your job search in the right direction. In addition, there are a number of personality tests, many of which can be taken free on-line, that can help shed light on suitability for various professions. It is also very helpful to talk to peers, professors and family members who know you well to get an added perspective. If you are unsure what different types of jobs entail, there is no substitute for talking to people inside the industry and asking the types of questions that help you identify whether this is indeed an area you will excel in.
Once you have identified those areas you are interested in and believe you can excel in, focus your efforts accordingly. Your CV and cover letter should be uniquely tailored to those professions and industries as should your research activities, networking activities and any training activities you undertake. Start reading the industry journals, attending industry events and widening your circle of contacts within the industry. Envision yourself obtaining and succeeding in the position you are targeting and then work backwards to see how you got there.
Research should be the core and foundation of your job search activities. Research will help you identify what companies, departments and positions to target and will uncover who is hiring in your target segments. The more you research your target industries the more cognizant you will become of what a typical job in your target area entails, where the overall industry is heading and where the best jobs are. Read the industry journals, look up target companies' websites, read their press and talk to as many people as you can within the industry to gain perspective. Research will also uncover jobs in the "hidden" job market ie jobs that are filled by referrals and word of mouth without ever being advertised. Websites such as Bayt.com are ideal for positioning your CV within the "hidden" job market traffic as a large number of companies use the website to find candidates without ever advertising their jobs.
Perfect Your Toolkit
Your CV and Cover Letter are usually the first interaction you will have with a potential employer so use them to leave a positive and high-impact first impression. Make sure the format, content and flow of both is professional and appropriate. If you are uncomfortable creating your own CV, have the experts prepare it for you. Companies such as Bayt.com have dedicated Career Services division that cater to jobseekers who prefer to outsource the writing of their CVs to professionals.
Many new graduates have no work experience and are unsure what to put on their CV. Here is where your education and activities during your college years must be highlighted. Emphasize in your CV and/or cover letter all activities that have prepared you directly for the job at hand including directly relevant courses, related research, special papers or publications, leadership positions in college, internships, volunteer work, student or professional organizations you joined etc. Spend a lot of time on skills you have acquired such as IT skills, languages, presentation skills, project management skills, writing skills, etc.
Treat the Job Search as a Full Time Job
Approach the job search methodically, logically and systematically applying the same discipline and organizational skills you would apply to a real job. Identify your targets and set a game plan in place that includes companies you will target, activities you will undertake, dates and follow up plans. Set aside a number of hours per day and develop a routine for your job search that resembles a real work day. Keep a record of every interaction you have with every company and make sure you follow up diligently and ask for leads at every juncture.
Widen the Net
Finding that first job is for many like swimming upstream so set a realistic gameplan and maximize the number of companies you target in your given field. Talk to friends, alumni, peers, family and the career planning team at your college and make sure your CV is circulating in the right groups. Placing your CV on a website like Bayt.com vastly increases its visibility and allows you access to both advertised positions as well as the "hidden" job market.
Prepare for the Interview
Employers are primarily looking for candidates that have the right kind of experience, can do the job and will fit in well with the company culture. With new grads, experience becomes less relevant than whether you can in fact do the job and will fit in seamlessly with the culture. The employer may ask you during the interview to demonstrate how you would actually do a specific part of the job whether be it dealing with a difficult client, selling the company product or service, solving a problem etc. The employer will also want to know what aspects of your past endeavours position you directly for the job you are applying for. A plethora of literature exists on common interview questions and what employers are looking for during the interview. Be prepared. Above all act professional and display enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and a knowledge of the company, its products and the industry.
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