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Be realistic, advise professionals

Be realistic, advise professionals

IT takes a while before a fresh graduate even gets an interview call. Employment often comes much later because everyone is looking for someone with some experience under the belt.

Talking to Dawn, an MBA degree-holder said she sent out her CV to 15 companies and uploaded it to at least three job sites, but the much-awaited call never came. She is now teaching Business Management to A-Level students. This is not what she thought she would be doing post-studies.

For fresh medical graduates, a House Job is the first formal employment. A young doctor from Abbotabad said the medical college he went to didn’t have enough openings to accommodate students in its teaching hospital. “Most of us did our first job for free as the hospital wasn’t keen on giving us the paltry monthly stipend of Rs15,000. We needed the House Job certificate to be able to run a practice and to study further”.

Students graduating from prestigious institutions, understandably, are better off compared to those coming out of second- and third-tier institutions that are often glorified diploma mills. No wonder, more and more youngsters are signing up as drivers on ride-hailing apps, or setting up small ventures of their own. Over the past few years, many Media graduates have set up their wedding video outlets after not hearing from mainstream media houses.

An informal poll on Twitter was divided when questioned, ‘How did you get your first job?’ Of the 255 people who responded, 43pc said they ‘applied directly against an ad’, 42pc said ‘through family connections’, 10pc said ‘placement by university’ while only 4pc said they were employed by a ‘job placement company’. Nepotism ranked pretty high on the list.

Hammad Siddiqui, the author of Bootstrapping Your Career and Country Director, Centre for International Private Enterprise, believes that the trend has changed drastically in the last decade. “There is a demand-supply issue, with thousands of young graduates coming out of these universities regardless of caliber. The first tier has a better chance of getting a job, but for the rest, even landing an internship needs references and family connections,” he said.

“References do not always mean sifarish because in the private sector people are looking for solution providers. They want fresh people who are quick learners. Those who have interned somewhere have a better chance to get employed. Additional skills and the ability to multitask is always a plus point for beginners.”

“Young students want to apply to two or three leading MNCs. What they don’t realise is that they need to explore options. These kids don’t even know where to apply. They don’t know which sectors they can explore for jobs.”

His advice to young job seekers is simple. “If you look for a job opportunity in the classified section of newspapers, you have a greater chance of getting it. Then, if you are smart enough, you will grow.”

Shahzad Abbasi, a human resource manager at HRSI, says hiring fresh graduates is not easy. “When you meet these graduates, you want to see how they are in person. At times, you will see a professional photo with the CV but when you meet them in person, they are not even dressed properly. Some of them show up late and it says a lot about their ‘passion for work’.

“The worst thing anyone can do when applying for a first job is to copy/paste things from the internet onto their resumes. At a job interview, potential employers see how alert and communicative you are,” he says.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2017

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