Getting started - self assessment and job search

Mind preparation is one of the most important tasks in a job search. You need to start with the right frame of mind and attitude, otherwise everything you do will show your lack of confidence. If you believe in yourself, your prospective employer will also believe in you. But you will not be able to convince them if you are not convinced yourself. Attitude is what counts here.

Firstly you need to be clear on what you want. Write down your criteria for a suitable job.
Some of these may include:

  • Good working conditions
  • Opportunities for further training and development
  • Working place that is close to home
  • Better pay
  • Career advancement opportunities

Searching for a new job is similar to buying a new car or a television. You work out what you want, how much you want to spend, and the type of features you would like to have.

The next step is to list the criteria which your future employer may be looking for. Most importantly, you should be clear on the strengths and skills which you are offering. Some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • What formal qualifications are required for this job?
  • What are my interests?
  • What relevant experience and skills do I possess?
  • What are my work related strengths?
  • What makes me better than the other applicants?

Write down your answers to these questions. Do not forget to substantiate with your past achievements. Ask your colleagues, friends and family what they feel are your strengths. All the above, when combined, is your value proposition to potential employers.

By now you should have a good indication of what you want and what your potential employer is looking for. If you are still not clear about what a job entails, try to find someone in the industry or a past employee of the company. They will definitely be able to help you.

Job Search / Career Management

Let's face it. You cannot expect a job to fall on your lap the moment you step out of polytechnic. Generally speaking, there are several approaches that one can adopt as part of the job search process.

  • Respond to job listings on the internet, in newspapers and on trade publications
  • Check with school placement offices
  • Apply for jobs with head-hunters and employment agencies
  • Participate in job fairs
  • Post your résumé on e-Recruitment sites
  • Network with friends, relatives, acquaintances and professional organisations
  • Cold call potential employers and send your resumes directly to hiring managers