Since I moved to Melbourne in February, I have been intensively applying for jobs. Finding a job is not easy, let alone in a new city, or in my case: a new country! Adit has been juggling both graduate school and a part-time job for over a year now. So, sometimes it frustrates me how I find it very difficult to get a job, but he kept reminding me how it is okay not to have one (yet) and that usually things like these take time.
This period reminds me of a time in 2013 when I recently graduated from the university and was looking for a job. Here are some experiences that I could remember, might be useful for fresh graduates (or those who are going to be one soon):
Although some of us would like to have a gap year upon graduation, most of us yearn to directly have a full-time job upon graduation. If this is the case, my advice would be to apply early, even before you complete your thesis. I applied to Unilever in March while I was still doing my research. The interview took place in August and I started the job in September, two months before my graduation ceremony. Job search is an absolutely long process, so you might want to get ahead especially if there is a specific company we are rooting for.
Understand the Selection Process
Every company has different hiring mechanisms. However, usually, those who come from the same industry probably have similar characteristics. For example, I applied to the management trainee programme in around three or four companies from the FMCG industry. The selection process is pretty much like this:
Online application (or “CV/resume screening”)
This will be the company’s first (and can be only) opportunity for it to know whether you are suitable for the job or not. Consider this as the chance to “win” the ticket to do an interview.
Some companies ask you to do some tests to understand your logical and analytical thinking capability. In my case, I had to do IQ, Maths, and English tests on the online application. Most important tip for this one: get enough sleep before you do these tests! The tests are not that difficult, but usually require a constantly high level of concentration. I did online tests a few times, but there was also one time when I had to do it on paper in a campus hiring activity.
Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
The company wants to see how you behave in a group. Can you lead the group to reach a conclusion? Are you too passive to be able to work in their company? In my experience, those who are too passive and quiet during the discussion usually do not get the job, but those who try so hard to “stand out” and talk all the time do not get the job either. Try your best to be balanced.
If you have succeeded in the group discussion, the company probably will give you a chance to shine on your own. The individual presentation, that can come in the form of a pitch or a case study to be worked upon individually, is your chance to showcase your strengths. If you applied to be a marketer, can you sell the product? et cetera.
Interview is the most common (and almost, always compulsory) element in a company’s selection and hiring process. Typically, you will get to be interviewed at least with someone from the Human Resource Department and your user (someone who will manage/supervise you in the office). Nevertheless, in other cases, especially for graduate programmes or management trainee programmes, the top management such as CEO or VP might be present to get to know you better.
Rumour has it — if you have reached this far, it means you are already accepted! Be honest with your health issues, as this usually does not affect your acceptance status unless you are applying for a job that might get affected with your health issues.
Companies in other industries might have fewer or even more process. If you want to become a flight attendant, for example, the process is longer as there is physical tests that you have to take. On the other hand, smaller companies might only ask for your CV and directly invite you to attend an interview with the HR and the user.
Get the Job Offer
If you pass all the tests, including the medical check-up, the company will give you a job offer that outlines your job title, job description, and remuneration (salary and benefits). Review this document carefully and dare to ask questions if there is something that you do not understand. Things to thoroughly learn about (even though sometimes it sounds boring): career steps, job status (Permanent? Contract? Outsourced?), medical benefits, annual leave, and other things you want to know. Remember: the job will always be more than what is stated on the paper, yet, the benefits should also be more than the number on your payroll.
What is your experience in looking for and applying for jobs?