Labour Day Tip: Finding your first job after graduation
First, my sincere apologies if this piece doesn't fit with the conventional "Job tips" or "7 ways to get a Job" you typically find on the internet. Actually, I expect that after you finish reading, you should be outraged.
At my university, one of the best photographers in the university community was from Bangladesh. He was an engineering student. And surprisingly, he was not that "rich kid who loved to acquire gadgets because his parents could afford them for him". He didn't fit that description. We spent many nights together doing odd jobs as students. His influence led to me buying my first digital camera in 2014. Today I have 2 (paid over a period of 2 years on monthly rates).
As an engineering student, I didn't see Manish (not his real name) having a problem finding a job in Germany. As I write this, he has indeed already found a job as an engineer. But if he had failed to do so and things didn't work out well, I have no doubt that he would have returned home and become a successful photographer.
Among my LinkedIn contacts, the most active blogger I know is Indian. Ironically, she hardly produces original content on her blog put mostly shares other people´s content. By doing that on LinkedIn, she is putting herself out there. On her profile, she states she’s a social media consultant. You will see that again and again whenever she shares content, and you begin to believe it after a while. Now, when I think of social media consulting, her face is the first thing I see. Although, she might not currently have the authority to make me bring out my money and pay her for a consulting job, in 6 months she would have improved her brand and created more awareness for herself in my eyes than YOU who might be doing nothing.
You studied communications and graduated in 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018. Now you want a company in 2018 to employ you in a communication specialist role, but you don't know how to use any of the widespread communication or social media tools at a fundamental level. Snapchat, no! LinkedIn, no! Xing, no idea! Twitter, no! Instagram, not really! Pinterest, no idea! But you’re looking for a communication specialist job? And your “dream” company will open all these accounts for you and teach you how to be a PRO before you start helping them make a profit? Wow, that's also my ideal workplace environment too! Please when you find their address, don't be selfish, take me along.
I started learning Facebook advertising and using my resources to test run Facebook promotions. Today I have two pages and using both to improve my knowledge. And guess what, when I got my current position, Facebook advertising was one of the things the operations team at the company worked on. So, the day my colleague was taking me through this, I was responding smoothly and picked up fast because I had previously spent hours making mistakes privately and learning from my mistakes.
It was the same experience when I was taught how to set up advertising campaigns. The manager said, "You are doing quite well, it took me months to learn all of these". Well, it did take me about the same amount of time, but mostly in my apartment. Twice I was able to save myself from the frustrating boss - beginner situation in a fast-paced working environment.
I gained my first experience with WordPress by volunteering for an NGO and managing their website. Before that, I had no previous experience or knowledge with that tool. It was in that environment I made most of my mistakes in website management and learnt from the experience. Today I can do better with my website.
Have you been applying for jobs but not getting any positive responses? Start your blog and begin to work on content in your field or area of interest. Take online certification courses, build your website, pick up a camera, open and operate as many social media accounts as you have time for. Build your brand! Start learning something professionally and make all the mistakes while spending your time and money. You might not be so lucky to find a company who wants to invest their resources to train you, but if you already have done that for yourself, then your problem should be half solved!
Sincerely, if I was a manager, I know that I would not prioritise employing someone who isn’t up to speed with the latest communication trends and tools. To my advantage, it would make sense to want someone who will be adding value or assist older colleagues to come to terms with the latest technologies. The reality is this: no company wants you solely because of your degrees, but because of the job that they need you to do! If your degree says, you are a master’s in computer science, but in reality, you are just a beginner, nobody will blame your university for not updating their curriculum to meet with the current market realities.
The choice is yours. Be angry at me for not showing you enough respect, talking down at you, and not wanting to understand your personal and family circumstance - but get up with that anger and do something! In 6 months’ time, you can become an expert in website management, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram monetisation and advertising. In 10 months you can become a consultant for small businesses and help them manage their online presence and not even want that company job anymore.
A colleague of mine spent over a year doing several internships with different companies before she got her job. During the period of her internships, she stayed in several shared flats and Airbnb accommodations to get through the internships. If you are currently not getting favourable considerations for full-time job offers, look for an internship position and start from there.
At the end of the day, I can only make you angry, but what you do afterwards with that anger is your decision. Happy Labour Day!