And Then - the Job Hunt

POR VIDA - Archie Modequillo () - March 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands are now graduating from our many colleges and universities. With all those long years of academic studies, these new professionals have been in some way prepared to face the various challenges of the real world. And then, it’s time for them to at least get themselves a job.

As always, even with the present information technology boom, there seems to be much more job seekers than there are jobs available. Even the generously accommodating call-center industry cannot seem to entirely absorb the big produce that the school system turns in every year. Thus, the new graduates need to be open-minded and imaginative, in order for their learning to be useful or, at least, not go stale.

To the multitude of new job seekers, no matter how ample their abilities may be, the main hurdle is how to sell one’s abilities on the labor market. There always seems to be someone else better and more qualified for every job. The basic problem most of the time, therefore, is garnering self-confidence.

Choosing and applying for a job is a full-time job in itself. To treat job-seeking as something to do half-seriously is not only inefficient but can be demoralizing as well. The lax applicant is not likely to get good results. And one rejection after another is the fastest way to deplete whatever little self-confidence one has.

First of all, the job seeker must bear in mind that there are actually many jobs available, only at different levels. Many of those that are already employed are continually moving on to higher positions or to better jobs, creating vacancies for new hires. And there are employees retiring everyday or quitting their jobs.

At any given time, there are employers wanting to hire people. The job applicant just needs to be the right person, or know how to communicate his or her potential value to the prospective employer. Well, first of all, of course one has to have some skill to offer.

While applying for a job, the job seeker is already working — as his own salesman. So he must be very careful not to short-change himself. When he will have sold himself to an employer, he is going to work seriously 48 hours a week. So, he better work seriously for himself now.

It is important that he analyzes his competence and ability level beforehand. It must be done ruthlessly and objectively. It is, perhaps, the hardest part asking oneself: “What job can I really do excellently?” Not simply because one is a graduate of a certain course, he can already presume to be capable of doing anything that seems to point to his academic training.

An honest self-inventory will help determine the job seeker’s real job potential, and give him a sense of direction in his search for the right job. What equipment can he operate? What tasks does he really like to do and what kind of job has those kinds of tasks? Thoroughly probing into oneself is a good preparation, or one may get a job only to give it up after a short while because he feels ineffective and miserable in it.

Surprisingly, after making an honest self-inventory, most people realize that they had underestimated their potentials. Many fresh college graduates, for instance, tend to feel that they have nothing special to offer. This is not true.

Only when one is clear about what he’s got and what he wants is he ready to look around for job openings. Then, he shall set a goal of doing a certain number of applications a week. Applying in person is preferable, as much as possible, than just sending an application letter or making a phone call. (Okay, he may call first to get an appointment.)

Many successful executives today even did four or five applications a day – around twenty a week! – when they were yet entering the job market. It’s a numbers game. The more the targets, the more chances of a hit.

If no job seems right in the first few attempts, especially if one’s self-confidence is not yet so solid, it helps to take a break and look elsewhere. There are seminars around where one can learn something new to augment his skills inventory. There are, for instance, short courses in t-shirt printing or candle-making, or in electronics or baking.

Hobbies can also be a source of business ideas, and one might end up being self-employed with a favorite leisure activity. Someone who couldn’t find his dream job turned to the Internet and learned about sausage making. He has since been supplying homemade sausages to exclusive subdivision homes, and is not only having a great time but good income as well.

A young lady who graduated from a business course last year tried for months applying for a job along her academic course, but never got hired. She gave up hunting for a job and instead focused herself in helping run the family’s sari-sari store. They have since expanded the business three times its size a year ago and the lady has been feeling very fulfilled about it.

In looking for a job, one may not have to look elsewhere. If one really believes he has the ability to sell to someone else, then he can try selling it to himself. Starting a small business is the way many of today’s biggest employers started.

One must also remember that a job is not only a means to earn an income. It is, most of all, an opportunity to make a positive contribution to society, to render service to others, the price each one of us has to pay for the time and space we are given on this planet. In that sense, any job is important, so long as it is performed to best of one’s ability and with the best intentions.

(E-MAIL: modequillo@gmail.com)

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