1. Virtual interviews: How to prepare
Even as economic sectors and physical workplaces open up, virtual interviews are set to remain. This means that fresh graduates should expect to interview for jobs over video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams — the home of most meetings around the world in 2021, of course.
However, you should always prepare for a virtual interview exactly like you would for an interview in person. Obviously, you won’t have to take traffic or parking into account, but everything else in your usual interview prep should be the same. Here are a couple of tips:
- Research the company & role prior to the interview
- Prepare your own questions about the role, company, and hiring manager
- Dress appropriately — if you aren’t sure, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed
- Do a test run — on the day, remember to test our your setup (tablet, PC, etc.) to ensure that minimal disruptions occur during the actual interview
- Use a real background — if this isn’t possible for some reason, you can also use a virtual background. However, a real, clean background should offer a better impression to your interviewer.
- Always turn on your camera, even if your interviewer chooses not to.
- Frame yourself well — during the interview, try to ensure that you are centred in the video, with a little bit of space above your head.
Ultimately, a virtual interview may be a unique experience for many job-seekers, but you should always make the effort to show off the best version of yourself, and your skills & experiences.
2. Finding the right job vacancy
Finding a job vacancy that fits in with your requirements — remuneration, industry, job scope — is a challenge that most job-seekers are familiar with. This also applies to those of you who are looking for your first full-time jobs, which means that you ought to be extra careful when looking for the right job.
Nowadays, there are a number of platforms that cater to job-seekers and professional networking, such as LinkedIn and Jobstreet. While these platforms and services may be easily accessible and widely-available, it’s worth noting that you’ll be fighting with the masses when applying for jobs via these channels.
Instead, a good tip is to apply directly on potential employers’ websites. You should be able to find a section under “careers” or “jobs”, where most companies will list down available vacancies in the organisation. Be sure to go through the job description (JD) in detail, and when you find one that fits your skills and requirements, you can usually apply directly to the employers.
3. Build your professional brand and network on social media
As the interview process goes digital, it’s worth remembering that resumes and CVs have also gone virtual in recent years. This means that you should pay close attention to your profiles on social media — primarily, LinkedIn. Keep your profile and resume updated with your relevant skills and experiences, and be sure to build your network with other professionals in the industry.
Networking is an important part of job-searching, and the right connections can offer advice, or even references to a suitable job. Of course, avoid spamming others with connection (or worse, job) requests, and try to gradually, organically build up your own professional brand and network over time.
And at the end of the day, professional social networking is also a huge benefit to fresh graduates as you’ll be able to learn from insights, experiences, and sharings from other industry colleagues and experts.
4. Never stop learning with a growth mindset
Learning should never stop — even if you’ve completed your formal, tertiary education. In today’s digital age, there are vast resources available to help fresh graduates upskill in areas that may not have been covered in formal education.
For example, Google and LinkedIn offer a wide range of certifications and courses to help aspiring digital marketers, while you can also look into platforms such as Coursera to learn, and upskill yourselves. If you’re looking for your first job, look into online courses and learning methods — many of which are free of charge — that are relevant to your line of work, or the career opportunities that you are lookin at.
This growth mindset shouldn’t end once you secure your first job — or any job. Learning on the job is a part of succeeding in today’s professional world, and you should always be open to learning new skills, and picking up new experiences throughout your career. This, in particular, is key to succeeding in the “new normal”, the digital age.