How to get your first job (hint: use the internet!)

Published: September 11, 2011
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I have noticed that a number of candidates get a job interview, but due to lack of preparation, they fail to get the job. PHOTO: REUTERS

I often get emails and calls from youngsters eagerly seeking to enter the job market. Even though most of these enquirers have MBA degrees, finding a job in this market is still challenging for them.

Even though the economy is not particularly strong, one must bear in mind that companies are still hiring people, and these are many avenues for one to find a job. I strongly recommend registering on Rozee.pk which is the most enriched job search site in Pakistan. Those, however, looking for jobs in Gulf are recommended to consider the website, Byat.

Getting an interview is only the first step towards getting a job. During the course of several years of voluntary work, I have noticed that a number of candidates get a job interview, but due to lack of preparation, they fail to get the job.

Thus, I have compiled a few tips for those readers who are struggling to find a job.

  1. Make a list of companies that you would like to work for. Check the career section on their website. (Google alert is a good tool, use it)
  2. Make a list of companies you have applied to with the respective dates and the job references.
  3. Be prepared to write a follow-up letter.
  4. Prepare a master CV and tweak it a bit for each application to reflect the values of the company you are applying to.
  5. Research the company prior to going for an interview; visit their website, study their annual report, look at their hierarchical structure, and check relevant Linkedin profiles.
  6. Prepare a list of expected questions and practice answers to these questions.
  7. Prepare a list of questions that you wish to ask during the interview.
  8. For hidden job market leads, an immediate follow-up is important.
  9. Build a network with those searching for jobs. This helps in lead generation.
  10. Remain in contact with those how have been recently hired; there might be other opportunities in the same organization.
  11. Check your email at least twice a day and respond immediately.
  12. Engage in social media such as Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
  13. Register on job portals.
  14. Dress professionally and appropriately for the position you are applying for -don’t overdress but don’t look informal.
  15. If you are a student with no prior work history, make a list of your hobbies, clubs you belong to, or sports you’re involved in. Show that you have strengths.
  16. Visit the company office a day prior to your interview to familiarize yourself with the location.
  17. Employers want to hire productive, positive individuals. Be positive, but do not play with your words. Always speak positively of former employers and co-workers no matter why you left, even if you were fired from your last job.
  18. Let the employer lead into any conversation about benefits. When discussing salary, always be flexible and avoid naming a specific salary.
  19. Close the interview on a positive note. If the employer does not offer you a job on the spot or say when you will hear from them, ask what their time frame is for making a decision.
  20. I recommend a brief thank you note to the interviewer.

Remember, the process of hiring has changed with the emergence of social media. Be ready to explore all the opportunities that come your way.

Good luck!

Hammad Siddiqui

Hammad Siddiqui

An institutional capacity building specialist who currently works as Deputy Country Director at Center of International Private Enterprise (www.cipe.org). He is qualified from the US Chamber of Commerce and blogs at hammadsiddiquiblog.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • adnan khan

    This is a nice article, But very generic, it would have been better if you had covered some common tricky questions asked to the freshers, As most of them think that they are answering very positively but they don’t and leave a bad impression on interviewer or get tricked.

    Such as questions regarding the reasons to stay in their company, and the HR asks: “that would be salary package. right?”. Most freshers trying to be very positive go for other options, which helps HR in negotiating the salary. The answer should be that “A professional employee would like to stay for following reasons in an organization “good environment”, “work of interest” and growth in salary, and i hope i will get all these three in your company, isn’t it Mr. HR?

    There are several other examples, please include if you are planning to write its sequel :)Recommend

  • Ayub Ahmed

    @Jason:
    Can you share the link from which download the DVD that you mentioned in your comment? Thanks
    Waiting for your responseRecommend

  • http://www.thephotowork.com Muhammad Furqan

    Great Insights…..Recommend

  • Helen

    Congratulation. Everybody can use it – not only for 1st job hunters.Recommend

  • Muhammad Usman

    These are excellent guidelines for new comers & those who want to switch their jobs. This article can be very helpful for getting any job. I just want to say “Excellence has always been achieved by those who dare to believe that something inside them is superior than the circumstances”. Keep writing good stuff Mr.Hammad. Best Wishes for you!Recommend

  • Kim Kankel

    This is a great list Hammad. I would like to add as a partner for #15. Be sure to get written recommendations from the organizations you have participated in. Just like job references, these individuals can atest to your work ethics and strenghs.

    Thank you Hammad for all your hardwork and dedication to promoting good best practises for those looking for a new job, or change of job.Recommend

  • ZM

    dont worry Ali asghar i am with you.Recommend

  • ZM

    I mean ALi Akbar ; and means oPilgrimages

    The reason people go on pilgrimages are because they are seeking inspiration, they want to find peace, they desire a change of mind, they want to be in harmony with the natural world, the are practising some form of meditation, they are purifying their hearts, they are seeking spiritual guidence or are following their intuition.

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Whatisa_pilgrimage#ixzz1XtxFm8zMRecommend

  • Asad

    Nice blog.Recommend

  • khalid jabbar

    its really very informative and helpful, a great work, thx hammad sbRecommend

  • http://syedshahzadali.blogspot.com/ Syed Shahzad Ali

    Its a such awesome article, Hats off to Hammad for such a great contribution. From HR’s point of view ,I must say that its a prime exracts with regards to Job search what you have unleashed for JOB Seekers and this sort of thoughts only came in ones mind after such a immense observation & experience.

    Keep Growing & Keep Amazing!!!Recommend

  • Amyn Bhayani

    Tips are great. I have already been applying few of them and experiencing a positive change. Will definitely adopt others as well. I would emphasize on PR. One should increase his or her contacts. More than 95% of the jobs are never advertised. You will only know about them through your contacts. Through contacts your CV will be in the hand of right person at the right time. I can’t guarantee you a job but you will surely get an interview call, a platform to prove yourself.Recommend

  • Kamran A nsari

    As a Chief Operating Officer of the largest Health Insurance Company of Pakistan, i feel that Hammad is doing a wonderful job for the youths of Pakistan which will help them to grow their carrier. In this comptetive corporate world where people hardly get time for themselves, i think to take time out for someone is something expectional which feel i that Hammad is doing honestly, dedicalty and with full responsiability. Well Done for this wonderful job. Recommend

  • Jawwad Shekha

    These are good tips. In my view a good CV is very critical in being shortlisted (no. 4 in your list) and the first step towards employement. Applicants do not realise that. CVs are either sterotyped, loaded with information and or do not highlight the relevant or any special experience/knowledge/skill. Do write something on good Cvs as well.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Khurshid

    Nice effort, but the real tragedy in our environment is that people rarely get the interview calls due to lack of refernece, moreover most of the jobs are not advertised anywhere. Your most of the tips are applicable only when one get contacted by the employers. We need to emphasize more on the tips for Getting interview call rather than handling the interview. Recommend

  • Huzefa Shabbir

    Its an useful blog for the new starts ups after doing graduate in english and it will really help me in my career ahead..Recommend

  • Hasnain

    Blog is superve… as am doing my accountancy it will really assist me in finding jobs as its very difficult for accountants to find a job!Recommend

  • tasneem

    Thanks blogger for sharing the useful tips… As I am in the final year of graduation and I hope these fruitful tips will help me in grabbing a good job!!!Recommend

  • Saima Anjarwala

    Good tips. Indeed we do hear and know these things but when it comes to practicality things become different. This one article brings almost all things in one place. No matter where these have been picked from but all it matters to me is that it is a refresher course.

    Best of luck… SaimaRecommend

  • hussain

    I wonder why all the people are focussing on job, I appreciate the blogger for giving useful tips but I wonder why people doesnt have any vision of becoming a entrepreneur??Recommend

  • http://www.tahericonsultant.com Ali Aasghar

    Thanks @Hammad for sharing useful tips, it would really assist the new entrance in the job marketRecommend

  • Zaman Zeb

    Although, many intellectuals in today know the circumstances to be followed for interview,but to above article i would only say that its all written their what we always imagine to be a best while being interviewing by others.Todays industry need and skills are some else comparitive to past,so what i can say this article is upto date with an awesome guidelines.Recommend

  • http://howtogetyourfirstjob ZAHRA MUSTAFA

    I think networking is the key to sucsses,I have experience in my life,as i live in dubai my network really help me out in fidding the right job!!Recommend

  • http://www.zealoustechnologies.com Shahid Lakhani

    This is ideal for all job seekers. They must follow all of them but personally i liked point # 17. Being employer, i always asked this question and 90% i receive negative response for last employer. I simply don’t hire. Good Work!Recommend

  • Hamid Mir

    If someone give you someting which was not new for you say to them thanks and if someone give you something on first time say them thanks and accept that person is your Teachers so Mr Hammad now you are my Teacher on following Subject. and for Ali Akbar I think you get my point if it is not new for you just say to him thanks ok.Recommend

  • Najam Sherazi

    Good tips but i think all educated know about that specially intelligents.Recommend

  • Hussain Feroz

    it’s a masterpiece by compiling all the comments in 1 pager.. I think networking is the key to success and I agree that social media is the best way in doing so!!Recommend

  • lutabfital

    Super!!This blog will really assist me in thinking out of the box!!Recommend

  • Humair

    Golden Hints :)
    as always great job Hammad Bhai (Y)Recommend

  • http://www.rcci.org.pk Irfan Manan Khan

    Very nice effort Hammad bahi i must appreciate you, these are petty things but very crucial for anyone attempting an interview. I myself took quite long to learn these things from experience, i truly appreciate it once again and wish you best of luck for future. Recommend

  • http://www.trueexpressions.co.uk Gail Gibson

    Great tips for job seekers in today’s market. The internet is a very powerful tool that can work extremely in favour of both candidates and employers. Clear, easy to read advice.Recommend

  • Ali Salman

    Very good post. The article should also highlight some problems on the skills side of the candidates and applicants. It largely address presentation matters, that certainly matters, but it should not discount the importance of skills development. Matching your skills with your prospective employer is not just a CV tweaking matter!Recommend

  • http://www.zealoustechnologies.com Maher Aftab

    Feel please to read such nice tips for 1st job. I really need them when I started finding job :). These sorts of articles are the driving force for newly job seekers, which give opportunity to present their abilities in better way.Recommend

  • Fatima Sayeed

    Rozee.pk appears to just have silently launched an incredible new feature combining both Facebook and LinkedIn connections on their site. I can now do a linkedin type search for people I know on Rozee and it finds people based on my extended connections on both Facebook and LinkedIn! You can now also see if you know anyone at a company posting jobs at Rozee to get additional insider insight. You have to join Rozee’s professional network to use this. Loving it! :)Recommend

  • Ajmal Baig

    These days it’s good to start reading newspapers and go to the companies directly. You don’t get much on the internet. Its mostly hyped by the online job sites.Recommend

  • Asim I. Mughal

    A list of good tips and compiled nicely. These must be helpful not only the first time job seekers,but also for experienced, who want to change their job.
    Regarding bayt, the same apply for all the sources of job-finding sites or companies. You have to take all precautions before moving ahead. You may find bad people every where and not know when a good person become a bad-one. So take care.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    I am a student of Oracle after compeletation my certification I will follow the golden rules I am very thankful of writter who give us very information. thanks Sir Hammad Recommend

  • http://gabahealthtips.com Dr. Habib Aslam Gaba

    An excellent endeavor to serve the community. It reflects the social responsibility the write, Mr. Hammad Siddiquie is engaged in. Let me not only appreciate but also congratulate him for this article.Recommend

  • Rizwan Hameed

    Bayt is garbage. For jobs in the Middle East try Khaleej Times and in Pakistan use Rozee. Applying on Bayt will just get your email added to millions of spam lists.Recommend

  • Azhar ul haq

    I must say the guide lines given in this article are very much needed by all youngster to follow who are in thier process of searching for the suitable job.Many of them would have heard and read the various points and hints included in this article but having them all in one place is a great support by Hammad for those who are going to battle for thier job search .
    I request Hammad to publish a guide line on point No 6 and 7 by giving some examples,Recommend

  • NabeelRashid

    @Fatima:
    you are right, but this is not their mistake as a nation our image is built specially in gulf countries as beggars. every one knows why. i am in Jeddah since last 10 years and day by day we feel that we are loosing our dignity. Recommend

  • Ayesha

    good one!Recommend

  • http://ThinkRichorDiePoor.com Sylvester Nkongho

    Great Post. Also have something great to share with you guys. Learn Secrets Most Job Seekers Will Never Know About Employers and Getting A High-paying Job at: http://thinkrichordiepoor.com/Blog/Recommend

  • Brian Towers

    And never ever say what these people said: http://buystock.netRecommend

  • Zarmeen Jawed

    This is one of the most comprehensive guidelines that I could find on internet. Thanks for sharing.Recommend

  • http://MAQGroup Visionary

    Some useful tips in the article. However, the job website listed above, is not byat, its Bayt. Secondly, that website isn’t good My question is, with hundreds of people applying for a job, how do you stand out with no experience, for some one who is walking out with a fresh MBA or Bachelors degree?- The employer has 237 CVs infront of him, how do you stand out when you apply online? My suggestion, if you are outgoing and can cast an impression, if possible, walk up to the company with your CV once you find out there is a job opening through job websites such as the ones listed in the article above. Get the name of the HR manager or the interviewer address the envelope which has your enclosed cv to him. Make sure to spell his name correctly.Recommend