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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finding Your First Job

Finding Your First Job
Winnie Shing Wei Hsia

To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.  Bishop Richard Cumberland

The experience of looking for your first job can be quite harrowing. Where do you begin? Who do you speak with? How do you know which job will be right for you? Here are some tips on how to find that perfect first job...

(1) Self Assessment. What do you enjoy doing? What is your skill set? What’s important to you and what motivates you? Self-assessment is the first step in the journey to find the right job for you. The four key aspects of self-assessment are:
•    Values: The things that are important to you, like achievement, status, and autonomy
•    Interest: What you enjoy doing, i.e. playing golf, taking long walks, hanging out with friends
•    Personality: A person's individual traits, motivational drives, needs, and attitudes
•    Skills: The activities you are good at, such as writing, computer programming, teaching
Once you’ve come up with a ‘profile’ of yourself, then you can determine what sort of careers would fit you best. One great resource to help you get started on this step is the guide to self-assessment:

(2) Use your resources. Especially while you are still in college, the best place to launch your job hunt is now. Talk with yourplacement officers, check out career postings, get a sense of what is available to a student with your training. Go to information sessions for various companies you are interested in (if available in your vicinity). Read up about a company on their website and through brochures. Use your social network: ask your friends, family, significant others, etc for advice. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

(3) Enhance your skill set. There isn’t much you can do to change your values, interests and personality and no one expects you to! However, one thing that you can do to make yourself more appealing to your potential employer is enhancing your skill set. Read up on topics you may not have covered in school, but that you know might be valuable to your future employer (examples: new programming languages, foreign languages, presentation skills, etc). Stay up to date on current events, locally and globally. And best of all, if potential employers offer free training, take advantage of them! Nothing makes you more appealing to a company than showing interest in learning relevant skills.

(4) Be proactive. When it comes to getting your first job, you have to take an active role throughout the process. Don’t just send your resume to your target companies – follow up with a phone call, talk to company contacts you’ve made, follow up all meetings and interviews with personal thank you letters. Make sure that you will be remembered when it comes time for hiring.

Useful websites:

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