The 2 *Key* Characteristics Fresh Grads Need to Land Their First Job

According to a pro.
by Katrina Golamco   |  Jun 12, 2021
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Fresh graduates already expect that the first job-hunting process they have to undergo would be the hardest one. Jumping into the professional world for the first time would create a multitude of emotions, especially now that every company and organization is at the advent of adjusting to the current predicament the world is facing. Thus, job applicants' obstacles just got more strenuous than ever.

But this does not mean rookie job applicants have to go in blindly and alone to the job-hunting phase of their professional lives. Luckily, we have the opportunity to talk with Ms. France Jopillo-Sumang, the Board Director of Career Development Association of the Philippines, Inc., and the Association of Placement Practitioners of Colleges and Universities, Inc., to guide job applicants through the job-hunting process amidst the pandemic swiftlylessening their feelings of uncertainty and nervousness.

The edge and challenges of Gen Zs in job-hunting this pandemic:

According to Ms. Sumang, no drastic changes transpired this pandemic in the job-hunting process, except only on how companies primarily adapted a more technological approach to their systematic procedures, creating more flexible job opportunities for most. "With the pandemic, virtual platforms arise… The advantage Gen Z has today is the technology that will help in the job hunt process. Because of the technology, job opportunities abound," she explained.

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However, like everything else, there are challenges attached to this adjustment. In this case, competition among applicants heightened because the population of job seekers started to spike due to the pandemic's impact. "The challenge here is that there is a lot of competition when it comes to talentfresh graduates, workers displaced due to retrenchment, and even part-timers who opt to go full-time work," she said. Not only that, but some also have a hard time pulling out resources needed to have a good Work-From-Home setup.

Grit and being tech-savvy are the key characteristics needed to ace the job-hunting scene today.

Ms. Sumang reminds fresh graduates to constantly hone their skills and attitudes even if they're not physically working alongside co-workers and bosses. "If you were given an opportunity to undergo training while on virtual internship, well and good. This will immensely help you in your career," she advised.

Some of the online tools she recommends fresh graduates familiarize themselves with are LinkedIn, video conferencing applications, and e-mails. "Update your LinkedIn profile, as some recruiters go to LinkedIn to check on talents for their organization," she said. "Familiarize yourself with the online tools such as Zoom, Webex, Teams when it comes to virtual meetings. Regularly check your emails as this is the new way of communication," she adds.

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Besides technical skills, graduates should also keep their personal characteristics in check. Ms. Sumang considers passion and perseverance—the two elements that comprise gritto be substantial to navigate through the job-hunting process successfully. According to Angela Duckworth, a psychologist specializing in grit, being completely committed to reaching your desired outcome with sustained effort combined with the skills you have honed through years of schooling and training can guarantee a lifelong achievement.

At the same time, job applicants should also be attentive to the organizational culture and values of the company they are applying to. 

For the past year, employees now judge a company's efficiency and success through evaluating if it has been thriving in withstanding adversaries such as the pandemic and caring for their employees by efficiently attending to their physical and mental health needs. Evaluating the company you are about to commit to is important since this will help you see if their values will align with yours and if your needs as an individual are guaranteed to be sustained throughout your employment.

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"I believe employee engagement and wellness programs should be taken into consideration because of the new normal that we are in," Ms. Sumang suggests. Besides the usual employee benefits, given the psychological toll this pandemic has given to people, it is now a must that job applicants should lean towards companies that advocate mental health policies and programs for their organization. Although most fresh graduates do not have the privilege to cherry-pick companies at first, as much as possible, evaluating companies that will guarantee you employment satisfaction should still be highly considered in the process.  

The most important advice to Gen Z job hunters:

"Be resilient, be agile in the face of adversity. Build your personal brand online, as it will help you in your career. Do not only look for work online; look for webinars or online learning to further sharpen your skills," Ms. Sumang said. "Do not forget too that mental health matters," she adds. 

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Katrina Golamco
Candy Correspondent
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