Job hunting as a fresh grad can be equal parts exhausting and discouraging. But, these 5 job search tips will hopefully give you an edge over the competition, helping you snag that valuable work experience.
Finding your first job as a fresh graduate is daunting at the best of times, but throw in a global recession and it might seem outright impossible. But while things may seem dire, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your job search prospects are dead in the water. Just ask Rudi Leung.
A digital creative who has been working in the advertising industry for 28 years, Rudi has quite the resume. A former Digital chairman of HK4As that was voted as Digital Marketer Of The Year of the HKAIM Media Convergence Awards 2014, he’s held positions as Creative Director, General Manager, and Vice President at renowned international agencies including Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, Bates, TBWA/HK, and DDB. In 2016, he made the leap to entrepreneurship, founding his own boutique creative agency in Hong Kong. Fuelled by “creativity, curiosity, and insanity”, Hungry Digital is a social-first creative agency that boasts major clients, such as Canon, Adidas, BMW, Shiseido, and Dyson.
Sympathetic to the plight of fresh graduates entering the job market for the first time, Rudi is adamant about hiring at least one fresh graduate a year in a bid to keep the company innovative with fresh minds and perspectives.
Here, Rudi Leung shares 5 job search tips for fresh graduates looking for a job.
1. Be Open to All Kinds of Opportunities
With many businesses now working on a tight budget, companies are increasingly sourcing interns and fixed-term contract employees rather than long-term employees to avoid having to cover high salaries and medical insurance.
While this positions may not be most fresh graduates’ dream jobs, Rudi advises them to seize the opportunities at hand regardless: “These jobs will still allow you to get a taste of the real world. After all, taking on these jobs is better than just sitting there and waiting,” he explains.
2. Polish Up Your Hard Skills
While a lot of emphasis has typically been placed on academic attainment and getting a degree from a prestigious university, Rudi advises fresh graduates not to neglect the development of more practical skills. Be it client management, commercial awareness, or more industry-specific technical skills, these hard skills are crucial to helping you establish your value as an employee.
In fact, Rudi points out that there are “a lot of community college graduates out there that make for excellent job candidates”, attributing their employability to the demonstrable, practical skills that make them useful in the workplace.
3. Show That You’re Passionate
“Don’t consider your graduate work as the endpoint,” Rudi advises. “If you are still looking for opportunities, you need to keep creating new content and ideas to show that you are passionate about the industry and not just sitting there doing nothing.”
For the advertising industry, Rudi advises working on your own portfolio: “If you love taking photos, take some photos! If you love art, do some artwork! If you like filming videos, go film some videos!” What’s even better, he adds, is that you can now easily build a portfolio by creating your own website. “Show the work you’ve done to your interviewer and I’m sure it will be something they highly appreciate,” Rudi assures.
4. Never Stop Learning
In the digital age where information is so easily accessible, it is important to always self-learn and stay on top of the game. Putting it in the context of the digital advertising industry, he says, “There are always new policies and new technologies, so people that constantly learn make for great employees.”
In fact, Rudi believes that the brightest ones are usually the self-learners. “When you look at people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, they are not successful because of the school they went to, but because of how good and persistent they are with self-learning.”
5. Keep Searching for Interview Opportunities
Although most companies may not have job postings on job advertising platforms, this does not mean that there are no jobs available out there. “Some may not be actively hiring, but they may still be willing to see fresh graduates,” Rudi elaborates.
Rather than solely seeking job opportunities via advertised openings, Rudi advises fresh graduates to “try knocking on the companies’ doors one by one to see which ones are willing to see you.” Sure, you may be rejected – not just one, or two, but numerous times – but this process could end with you securing a job.
All in all, the future might seem to be all doom and gloom, but it’s important not to be discouraged. Instead, stay proactive – take hold of any opportunities that come your way and, most importantly, remember to keep your head up amidst the cold calls and rejections. The job market is going to be competitive at the best of times. So keep knocking on doors, finding ways to self-improve and, who knows, you may even surprise yourself!
If you liked this article, check out the first part of our two-part feature on 5 Reasons Why Employers Should Hire Fresh Graduates.