Tips to ensure a bright future

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 February, 2009, 12:00am

It's a defining moment when the mortarboard comes off, is thrown into the air and all eyes turn upwards. It then falls back down to earth, bringing along with it a looming question: 'What now?' In many ways, graduation epitomises an array of emotions from happiness and pride to confusion and fear, and one often wonders how such diverse emotions can exist all on one plane.

But one thing is for sure, now is the time to cast aside all those doubts, grab the bull by the horns and decide where and how you want to kick start your career. Although the employment market is expected to be gloomy for the rest of the year, it will be foolish to simply give up all hope. Here are some tips on how you can begin your journey towards ensuring a bright career path.

Be realistic and patient Searching for a job during tough times requires a lot of patience. It is difficult enough entering the job market with no experience, let alone when companies seem to be firing rather than hiring. Recent reports predicted that unemployment rates in Hong Kong would rise above 5 per cent, while fresh graduates were expected to face a tough time this summer. Given these facts, being realistic about time frames is important.

Do use your time wisely during any waiting period. Consider volunteering or working without remuneration to gain experience, especially in your chosen field.

Do focus your energies on positive activities and keep a positive mental attitude.

Do be flexible and adaptive in your search. There are jobs out there, but it may be on a part-time or casual basis. Don't be afraid to accept that.

Don't worry if you don't hear back from the companies you have applied for, these things take time.

Don't feel bad if you don't find anything straight away. Use the time to think about what you want in your career.

Don't be idle. If you are not successful in your job search this time around, keep trying. Understand that you will get rejection letters and bad news, but be rational about this and focus on the small wins as these are the ones that will eventually lead to the big win in your career.

Don't jump at the first offer you get. Think carefully whether this is something you really want to do and how it can help you grow in your career.

Prepare a well written CV

Your CV is the single most important document in the job search. As a summary of your personal, educational and professional qualifications and achievements, it is the first point of contact with a potential employer, and how well a CV is prepared will determine whether you are invited for an interview. A well drafted CV goes a long way and it's important to treat writing the CV as a full-time job and a continuous process.

Do spend time figuring out what your key selling points are and what makes you, you. Know your value and work out what your competitive edge is. Remember the product for sale is you, so how are you going to market this?

Do make sure all the dates on the CV flow and any gaps in your resume?can be explained.

Do target your job application and know what type of candidates the company is looking for and how you meet these criteria.

Do adopt a formal and professional tone in CVs and make sure to spell check, proof read and ensure all important information, such as your contact details, are included.

Don't just randomly send out resume. Make sure you target and tailor your resume?to companies you want to work for.

Don't oversell yourself. Make sure you are honest with your abilities.

Don't let your resume?run on, keep it short, concise and to the point, using high impact action words.

Know the company and

keep up with the news

Staying abreast of what is happening in the job market, specifically in your industry, is important when you are trying to land your ideal job. Recruitment websites that offer market updates and strong editorial content are good places to explore your opportunities and options. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better suited to target the appropriate companies and perform well in the interview, as you would be in a better position to suggest improvements and show that you are up to date with what's happening. It also shows that you are serious about the job and getting into the field.

Do attend industry functions and seminars, and network with people and let them know you are looking for a job.

Do regularly read recruitment publications to find out what is out there.

Do research the company and individuals who will be interviewing you so you are better prepared for what happens.

Don't make assumptions. If a company appears to be laying off staff, it doesn't mean they are not hiring in other areas or in more junior roles. Your failure will be not trying.

Don't go into an interview unless you have sufficient information.

Have a winning attitude

Having the right attitude is your best weapon when it comes to searching for a job. Being able to stay positive will shine through in an interview and companies like to hire staff with positive attitudes. The way you carry and express yourself will also be evident when you are networking. Letting the word out that you are job hunting will remind people about those great qualities.

Do surround yourself with positive mentors and people you can trust to guide you onto the right career path.

Do take any setbacks as a learning experience and know that it is taking you one step closer to your ideal job.

Don't be negative when you are in an interview. Every situation has a positive aspect, find that angle and run with it.

Don't feel that you are a victim of the crisis if you don't get a job. Just know that this crisis will pass.Jolene Otremba

For more information, please visit the Classified Post booth during the Hong Kong Education and Careers Expo at 5B04, 06, 08, 10, 5C03, 05, 07, 09 where editors will be speaking on the above topics, or visit