Give Yourself Some Credit!
Self-esteem, self-awareness, self-respect…all these words look differently, but in its deep core sense they are connected to the one and only personal quality – confidence. Confidence should have the essential value for job-hunters, since the level of your confidence has a very concrete impact on the results of your job-hunting exercise. For example, underestimation of your past work experience will sabotage your chances to get the job of your dreams.
Young people, fresh graduates from universities are typically fighting with their confidence for various reasons: because they feel like their past experience is not valid enough, because they may believe they are not mature for employers, because they deep inside know they have not had chance to develop these particular skills etc. etc. You can come up with a lot of very nice excuses why job hunting is difficult for you, right?
Ok, no surprise you are having concerns. It is good to have them and to be aware of your position in the job market. This will prevent you from losing your time with applying for roles, which are not meant for you. What is, however, not ok, is to sabotage your career with low self-esteem!
Often, we have a very low judgment about our experience from student jobs, because we know we were doing these jobs simply to earn some cash. At that point most of us were not really thinking about developing some skills for future career. But were these jobs actually useless? Of course not! Each job (even if you worked as cleaning staff at McDonalds) earns you certain qualities. All you need to do is to step back, forget how awkward you feel about that particular experience and write down on piece of paper objectively (!) what this role had brought you.
Let me give you an example. When I was at college I did a simple part time job at the Prague Zoo. In my own subjective view I would say my only task was to go through the zoo and clean all signs and boards. But objectively speaking I had a huge responsibility – thanks to me entire information system was readable and helpful for visitors. I had to act quickly whenever any damage occurred. I learned to work manually and in a creative way. Also I experienced team work. I can continue on and on. The point is to give yourself some credit for what you did in past. If you present your past experience as objectively as you can, the recruiter can be (surprisingly for you) amazed by your experience and can perceive a clear match between you and the offered vacancy. On the other hand, presenting your past experience as boring waste of time will lead you…you know where. Nowhere!
Yet, a rather smaller group of us, did volunteering extracurricular activities during their studies. Many of you would even leave these out of their CV. But these activities are actually perfect material for personal branding. I did a lot of these. My friends would tell you that I was extracurricular activities freak! I joined the International Club and organized stuff for exchange students at my university. Then I joined the Student Union and volunteered as Secretary to do a lot of administrative work and organize social events. Later I was elected as a Student Representative to the Academic Senate to take part on major decision making. I even acted (twice) in Vagina Monologues to have experience with a serious cause and to challenge my artistic skills. It was a lot and my classmates kept asking me: ‘Why the hell are you spending time will all of this?’ Well, I was quite self-aware back then, so I knew this will pay back at some point, because all listed above will be prove of my personal attributes and qualities for future employer. And so it was, but only because I did not have any doubt about my qualities and did not fight with my self-esteem. I knew how to sell myself on the job market.
To conclude, let’s have a look on this from another side. Believe me when I say that it can be beneficial to be a fresh grad on the job market. Yes it can! Don’t forget as a young newbie, you have the qualities which other experienced workers don’t have. Sell them! E.g. you are not touched/damaged by the company culture, your views are fresh and you are open to new approaches and technologies. You are student minded, so you are eager to learn and ask for feedback. Millennials (or generation Y) and any following generations that are just coming to the market are much more competitive and possess much diverse skills comparing to their predecessors. Having them in the team can bring the energy which will just affect everybody and inspire the team members to a bigger performance. Employers are well aware of it.
Trust in yourself, do not underestimate your qualities and sell your current ‘young fresh grad’ profile as the best benefit you have. Remember that recruiters do not think all young grads are simply immature. But you will look like one, if you are not able to sell confidently your real value.
Discussion board: Give Yourself Some Credit!
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