The hunt for that elusive first job

I landed my first job before I got my college diploma. Somehow I started applying for jobs a little early, around January of the same year I am graduating, due to the gentle prod of my parents and my big brother. My batchmates were also doing the same, so it wasn’t unusual. I applied to a number of different companies – a local fastfood giant, a large retail group, a big local bank, and so on. But it was really that one particular company I was aiming for – San Miguel Corporation.

An exam and several interviews after, they offered me a job. I was fortunate that it wasn’t the IT position they were first considering me for. Not that I can’t do IT, but I don’t think I’ll be happy in a career doing solely IT. I’m a variety type of person.

They asked me if I could start before my graduation ceremonies (which was in mid-April) but I politely declined and requested to instead start in May. They obliged.

How did I land my first job? Well, there’s a lot to it, but I’m mighty proud that I got that job without using any personal connections. Not that using connections is bad, but it feels more rewarding to have earned your position by your own merits.

When applying for jobs, first you have to have a general idea what job you want. It may be something directly related to your degree, or something not related but you also know how to do and enjoy doing. Sometimes the target is a company and not a specific position, as in my case. It may also be an industry and not a specific company. The last criteria for looking for a first job should be the salary level – unless you have a family to support financially.

Once you have a target, an ideal job or company or industry, then you have to package yourself and sell yourself well to your potential employers. You should have actually done something about this even while you were still in the university. Whatever you do before finishing your degree which can go beautifully on your resume would be great plus points when applying for jobs. This does not just refer to grades, but a lot more on extra-curricular involvement, leadership positions, and special projects. Whatever can show that you work well, handle people well, and know how to work with groups, it will boost your resume.

There are a few things you should consider carefully when applying for jobs:

  1. Where to look for work / How to submit applications for work
  2. Your resume
  3. The interview
  4. Knowing when the job is right for you

I will touch on these four topics separately in the next few articles, so that it won’t be an overwhelming one-time reading.

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