Layoffs have become routine in companies across sectors. Thus, landing a secure job with the potential to grow may be challenging. How can students, who are fairly new to employment, navigate their way around the obstacles that have made the job market highly unpredictable? There are five checkboxes to tick off while narrowing in on an organisation that could give fresh graduates the opportunity to begin their careers.
Research from different perspectives
Potential risk surrounding a sector/industry: When there is a recessionary trend, sectors that cater to luxury goods and high-end services are at risk of closing down or increasing layoffs. This is a direct result of the reduced spending power of people in general. It is essential for students to study and analyse the industry before selecting a company in that sector. The major advantage of sectors such as food, education, and health industries is their insulation against recessions.
Company’s current health: A prospective employee should identify the company’s present growth stage. The following questions will guide one in understanding the health of an organisation: Is it a startup with a new product or service? Does it have an established product with increasing sales? Is the company agile enough to overcome the challenges expected during uncertain economic conditions? Is the company transparent about its policies? Does the company have a clear mission, vision, and goal?
Media coverage: Today it is not the lack of information but the ability to access the right information that is the challenge. Students should find answers to key questions about the organisation from print or social media: Has the share price of the company dropped dramatically? Has the company defaulted on its creditors or suppliers? Has any negative news been published about the company?
Grow the network
Networking is the most reliable and effective means to land a sustainable job in uncertain conditions. It allows the person to connect with people from different industries and gain insights into various career paths; to build relationships with professionals who can offer valuable advice on how to navigate the job market successfully and provides opportunities to showcase one`s skills and strengths, which could align with a job opening at an organization.
Check company websites
When it comes to job hunting, students often stick to a few job sites. This restricts the information on opportunities available in a particular sector. First, identify a target sector for employment based on qualifications and skills. Then list the top 10 companies (based on criteria such as share price, revenue, and profits) in the sector. Then send in the applications. Companies generally have opportunities listed on the company websites that students can respond to. They can also send applications to the HR department’s email address mentioned on the careers page.
Strong resume/cover letter
The resume and cover letter are the first impression a student will make on a potential employer. It’s important to tailor the resume and cover letter for each position, highlighting relevant skills and experiences. A resume should be clear, concise, and easy to read. Use bullet points rather than long paragraphs to highlight educational achievements. A cover letter is an excellent opportunity to showcase the applicant`s personality and passion. This should be well-written, error-free, and tailored specifically to the job description.
Internships and online learning are two great ways to prepare students for their first job and enhance skills that are in demand currently. Other soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, time management and so on can be improved during this time. Internships also provide the students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in the real world, while allowing them to network with professionals in their field of interest.
The writer is Programme Chair, Bachelor of Management Studies; Professor, School of Business Studies; and Director, Start-up Management Programme, Vidyashilp University