How to Get the Job You've Always Wanted

How to Get the Job You've Always Wanted

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Navigating the ever narrowing job market need not be as difficult as everyone thinks. Some simple tricks, tips and things to avoid that will guarantee you a better chance at finding not just a career, but a career you enjoy.

The world economy is still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, global unemployment and specifically youth unemployment is at an all-time high, and if we are to believe UN predictions these conditions are only set to get worse by 2018.

Finding a job after you graduate can seem hopeless, with university degrees now the norm, we find ourselves like a drop of water in the ocean; competing with thousands of other like-minded individuals, with similar resumes and no way to stand out from the crowd

Although things might seem apocalyptic, it need not be the case. Here are a few simple steps to use your time effectively and maximize your chances of getting noticed.

The skills gap

The skills gap is defined as the different between what employers want and what their employees can actually do. Employers are still struggling to find graduates that have sufficient ability, but many graduates also struggle to entry level work. One way to get a job is to build up your skills so that you can offer employers what they are looking for and stand out from the crowd. As everyone can talk about academic experience, one of the best ways to offer more is to do an internship and build up your workplace skills. For example, as Stephen Isherwood in The Guardian argues:

‘Employers also want evidence of teamwork. Most graduates have some experience of this, but a piece of group work for a module rarely highlights the potential you have to deal with difficult people, situations and manage conflicting demands. It’s better to think outside of your academic studies, such as during roles of responsibilities or work experience, to explain how you can deal with difficult situations.’

How to get ahead

Do an Internship

No matter what your degree, to convince an employer that you’re ready for the ‘real world’ you’re going to have to have experience to prove it. A degree is by no means an automatic gateway to a graduate job: you have to be able to impress your employer with more than that. 
Students and post-grads today are faced with perhaps one of the most irritating paradoxes of our generation; to get a job you need experience, and to get experience you need a job. 

What’s the solution?

 Do an internship, an internship is an excellent way to gain experience in a field you’re interested in, get a taste for the working world and demonstrate to employers that you’re able to function well as part of a corporation. It also demonstrates that you know how to work in a business environment and is a good way to gain valuable skills that will appeal to potential employers.

That being said there are some important things to consider when choosing where or how to intern… 

Work Smart Not Hard

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t put 100% effort into the job you’re doing, no, rather it means you should pay close attention to exactly where you’re investing your efforts to maximize your potential.

Think about what you want to gain from the internship. Firstly, think outside the box. Maybe your dream job is in finance- the obvious place to look for an internship would be major financial institutions and banks. However, another option is working in a start up or small company that might be looking for a finance intern, where you are given greater responsibility and exposure to the business and can impact the company’s bottom line.

In addition, look into what exactly the internship involves. It might be in your dream industry or even at your dream company, but what will the work be like? You could be stuck in a department that is very far from what you want to do, or could simply be repeating the same simple task over and over again. Make sure you read the description and ask questions about what the role involves, or you may not gain valuable skills from it.

So What Now?

The answer is to go abroadget the experience and then come back and apply for a job, avoiding the low wage trap altogether.

Why not look abroad for the experience?

Jack Rayman from Pennsylvania State University also explains that in his experience interviewing company CEOs; they were far more inclined to accept candidates who had international experience, which they also linked to important characteristics such as the ability to take risks and maturity. Having international experience can help you find your dream job in many different ways:

  • Immerse yourself in life and culture in an exciting, fast moving city, demonstrating to your employer that you can tackle challenging situations
  • Push yourself by getting out of your comfort zone
  • Learn new professional skills from international colleagues
  • Begin to understand how different working cultures impact how businesses operate around the world
  • Build and expand your professional network internationally
  • Make friends from across the world
  • Learn a new language which can open up a new culture and boost your resume
  • Stand out from the crowd! 

Challenge Yourself

You’re going to have to get well out of your comfort zone, it might be difficult but it pays dividends to your personal as well as professional development. 

It’s Up To You!

·       You need to show your readiness to accept the world has changed: we live in a newly globalized age. Companies are extending their reach into all corners of the world.
 

·       You need to show that you’ve first-hand experience of a culture your peers don’t, that you understand how things work in a completely different country.
 

·       Perhaps most importantly that you understand how business models in your own country can be adapted globally.

 
Learn Something New

Seize The Day!

Take the opportunity when you’re abroad to learn something new. The geo-political center of gravity is gradually shifting from the U.S. towards Asia, and in particular China, so think ahead and check it out for yourself!  David Barboza at the New York Times says China will overtake the U.S. as the largest economy in the world as early as 2030.

It’s now more important than ever for global companies to be able to effectively communicate with these rising Asian powerhouses, and experience in Asia will greatly appeal to potential employers.

Learn A New Language

Many people will tell you to learn another language to get ahead, but picking just what to learn is important. While Spanish and French for example are globally distributed, you can’t really say they’re crucial for international business.

Take Mandarin as an example. Chinese business often can operate in English, but things are easily lost in translation, the business culture is ery different, and a trip to the street markets in China will confirm you’re only ever going to get the best deals if you can bargain in the language. 

In short, learning a skill - like Mandarin, that caters to the rapidly changing economic landscape will dramatically increase your chances of getting noticed and getting hired.
 
Even if you can only demonstrate a basic understanding of the language, culture and customs, it will show to employers a willingness to adapt and plunge yourself into the new world. A willingness that if nothing else, will make you stand out from and above the rest of the crowd.

What To Take From This

What to take from this article is that you need to show employers that you’re different from the masses of students and post-grads, you know the world is changing and you’re willing to adapt to it.
 

It’s not necessarily about how well you do at University or what course you take, Rory Sutherland, vice president of leading marketing and communications company Ogilvy Group UK, has said, “there[‘s] was no evidence that those with the top class degrees made better employees, but often the reverse was true.”

 
People aren’t hiring for the bit of paper you got from school anymore, they’re hiring charactersconfident, mature, innovative, hard-working individuals who have a story to tell and are willing to show they aren’t afraid to break the mold.
 
If you think you have what it takes, you can apply for an internship in China!

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