Jobless and Confused

Q: Hello, I graduated last April 2001 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. I am still jobless. In what fields are graduates of my course are likely to get employed? I already tried applying for different positions: Math Instructor, Computer Technician, Electrician, Sales Engineer, Customer Care Representative.

I have taken the board exam September last year but I was not able to pass. I have this interest with computers so I tried applying for the position of a computer technician. I was fortunate to talk with the owner of the school I was applying at. He told me that they cannot hire me because I was overqualified for the position.

Right now, I have a pending application at a certain company for the position of Customer Care Representative. I am also thinking of applying as an office staff or finding a company that accepts trainee relevant to my course if in case I won't get hired.

- Sagittarius

A: It must be frustrating applying for several positions in different fields without landing the job you really want. But don't you worry: it seems most fresh grads go through some kind of jobless-and-confused phase! As you continue with your job hunt, it might help to ask yourself a few questions.

What are your competencies? What are you really good at? What are your special skills? Do you have excellent communication skills? Are you a born leader? Can you plan and organize big projects? Are you naturally computer-savvy? Look back at your experiences in college and re-discover your strengths and skills.

In addition to your competencies, think about your likes and interests. Other than computers, what else interests you? What were your favorite classes in school and why? What excites you? Perhaps it's the thought of meeting new people or learning new skills. For others, it could be taking risks, being able to coach other people, or being the center of attention.

The answers to these questions will help you towards job success. You don't just want a job; you want a job that you will be successful in and a job that you will enjoy. As you look through the classified ads, try to match the position with your unique set of competencies. During interviews with potential employers, find out as much as you can about the job and determine if it's something you will find personally satisfying.

Here's a tip: Interviewers and/or recruiters generally look beyond one's resume or college degree. They are looking for people with good relationship skills and problem solving skills. Employers are on the look-out for people with impact and who show creativity and initiative. Talk about how you can bring all of these into the workplace based on your past experiences.

Finding the "right" job isn't just based on your college course; it's about finding the right "fit" between the job/organization and you! You'll know you "fit" when the job needs your skills and when the job provides personal satisfaction.

R.A.H. Elbo is the managing advisor of Kairos Management Technologies and acting president of Kaizen Institute of the Philippines, both consulting and training companies.

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