You’ve Graduated. What Next?
You’ve graduated. What Next?
So you’ve celebrated graduation day, thrown your mortar board in the air and enjoyed a break from studies. Now it’s time to get cracking on what’s next on your career horizon. To help you move along, here are some suggestions, offered by Dr Taj Kardaman, Career Counseling Consultant at Qatar Career Development Center.
Recognize Your Worth
As you embark on establishing a career for yourself, it’s important to know what you want to do, and what you have to offer a potential employer. In addition to considering how a job will benefit you, looking at it from an employer’s point of view will give you a valuable perspective so that you can present yourself as the candidate who is able to solve their problem. (also read Pursuing Your Dream Career on page 26)
Craft a Strong CV
As a graduate, you will now need a professional CV. A good CV will need to highlight both your academic achievements and your experience, including all volunteer work. In addition to listing your qualification, include the names of any modules or courses you took which will help you in a professional scenario. This will help employers envisage you in a specific role. When including your experience, start with the most relevant (recent internship or volunteer work), then include roles that may be less relevant.
Work on Your Personal Brand
This is about how you want to sell yourself to potential employers, and it really depends on the type of industry you wish to venture into. Your personal brand needs to be consistent right from your CV through to your LinkedIn profile and other social media platforms. If you are looking for a corporate role for example, everything you present needs to be smart and professional. Your profile photo, for instance, should preferably be of you in business attire. If you are looking for a creative role, a more casual profile might suit. Remember that the tone and context of your social media profiles also have an impact on how you portray yourself to a potential employer.
Do your homework
The more planning and research you do, the more you will benefit in the long run. Learning about companies that interest you will help make your CV more relevant, helping you match yourself to their values and goals. If you make it to the interview stage, you will already be equipped with all the background information.
Build Your Network
Never underestimate the power of networking. There’s no point in creating a stellar CV only to keep it hidden. As a jobseeker, you will now need to make yourself and your CV as easy to find as possible. Make use of every opportunity to get yourself out there: Maintain your LinkedIn profile, establish a professional blog or Twitter account, upload your CV on various job boards and databases, and don’t forget to tell just about everyone that you’re seeking employment. The more exposure you get, the better, so cast your net as far as possible. You never know what will come back your way. You may be able to pick up some work experience, or even be notified of a job opening.
Get a Hobby or Volunteer
Don’t have a hobby? It’s never too late to get one. Employers like to know what interests you have outside your studies, and watching TV is not going to carry any weight on your CV. Make use of your free time now to get involved in a charity of your choice, or take up a hobby that will set you apart from other candidates. You can also consider a short course that might give you an edge over others.
Sell Your Skills
It is not uncommon for graduates to apply for positions outside their field of study. For example, a qualified lawyer might have a keen interest in marketing, or an engineer might pursue his passion for writing. If you are considering applying for a job outside your qualification, don’t think that you might not be a suitable candidate. Look past the title of your degree and think about what skills you’ve picked up along the way. Research and analytical skills, working to deadlines, creating and giving presentations, demonstrating good interpersonal skills are all great attributes often gained through higher education. It’s all about how you present and communicate them.
Notice how every job opening asks for experience? Well, it’s important. To make a breakthrough into your desired field, you’ll probably need to gain some experience. This could be entry level or even unpaid, such as internships or graduate work experience opportunities. You might not be earning at this stage, but the experience will definitely add weight to your CV.
This might be difficult if your CV keeps being rejected, but a certain amount of rejection is inevitable. The point is to persevere, and to keep trying. Focus on both the positives and negatives of your application, and ask recruiters why you were unsuccessful. This might help you put in better formulated applications in future.
Highway To Success
The following roadmap might be useful in helping you chart out your career options. It is recommended that you work closely with a mentor or coach who will be able to guide you accordingly.