Career101: Learning from the Process

I always hear on graduation speeches the phrase “The end is just the beginning.” It’s been weeks since I graduated from college and I tell you, that phrase is very evident once you leave your house and go for a job interview or walk-in job application.

Hurdling this adventure on searching for my dream job is one of the hardest seasons of my life.

It is true that starting a career is like building a house. You need to start from the bottom, up. The identity that you invested in college will be totally scrapped. You are a stranger who’s taking heart to enter a new world. I always remind myself that no matter how challenging the search is, it is a gain to my bank of experience.

Here are some things I learned in the process:

1. Be early.

Being on time is one of my golden rules when I was still a student. I always believe that others’ time is as equally important as mine. It’s better that I’ll be the one to wait for my team mates, rather than being the cause of delay. First, I think it will be an added good impression if the HR/Manager will notice that you are earlier than the expected time. It only shows you are professional and interested in pursuing the application. Second, being early gives you enough time allowance in case you get lost in searching for the place you should be going.

2. Be assertive but not arrogant on asking questions.

Have you experienced being a kid who got lost in a sea of people and can’t find your mom or dad? That’s the exact feeling when I first took the MRT ride (just one week ago)

I do ride public transportation but I’m never familiar with the chaos in the MRT and places in the south. (Since I live in the North) It’s my first time to try the what they call ‘Stop Entry’ protocol and ‘Express Train’ at MRT-Araneta Center Cubao Station going to Magallanes (which the ‘express’ of the Express Train isn’t very obvious) the shifting of the doors’ opening in selected MRT stations, the Hunger Games-like race of the commuters to catch the train etc.

I don’t usually ride a cab (unless my Mom would insist) because I want to explore the places I’m going. I practice my inquisitive skills whenever I ask the security guards how to go in a specific place. I use human map rather than Google map to find directions. If you’re familiar with the game Sims, asserting questions to strangers increases my Socialization level and at the same time leads me to the right way. Better ask than be lost and miss the opportunity from an interested employer. Ask in a friendly manner so they’ll not lead you to the wrong direction.

3. Bring extra money.

When I was in elementary, bringing extra money is what our adviser will always remind the class whenever we have a field trip. Same is true when you are searching for a job and attending a job interview, bring extra money. Aside from the fact that this journey can be likened to a field trip, we can’t expect situations to become smooth. Suddenly it will rain and you’ll be obliged to buy an umbrella in a convenient store, or for ladies your high-heeled shoes might be a disaster and you will have to buy an alternative one. This journey is unpredictable, always be prepared.

4. Maintain your poise.

Wearing corporate attire and battling with equally desperate commuters to catch a trip is one of the hurdles you need to jump in order to arrive at the workplace. The mayhem should not stop you from projecting your professional side. Always bring your Personal Grooming Kit and freshen up before facing the interviewer.

5. Be patient.

Most of the time, the interested employer will do a follow up a couple of weeks after your initial interview. The waiting process will leave you hanging whether you were able to get your favor or not and burying yourself to boredom at home which sometimes leads you to overthink that employers might have forgotten you already. Being impatient will now make you resort to options that are sometimes not healthy (Ex. Settling for a job that isn’t your best choice) Remember that HR isn’t the only function of the company you’re applying for. Try to understand that everything takes time. Keep your eyes on your goal, be patient, and don’t settle for the ‘okay’ career. What’s important is you’ll land in a job that you know you really want. Don’t accept offers just for the sake of getting employed instantly.

In a fast-paced environment of the employed world, I realized that the job application process is teaching me to live by those five lessons which will eventually become a part of my lifestyle. The application process is teaching me about the shift of the season.

No matter how successful or famous you are during your student life, it won’t have too much bearing on the eyes of the bosses. In this season, humility should be embraced because we are a student again, not in the University but a student of the REAL world.

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