In the contemporary world, job opportunities have become scarce due to glutted job market. Employers are constantly looking for people who are confident in their skills and can be a part of a proactive team that can deliver the desired organizational results and set objectives. Learning how to format a resume, write a cover letter, and create a personal brand is critical in helping one gain a competitive edge in the job market. This essay is a reflective journal that discusses the process of job application and placement, target profession, and strengths.
It is the dream of every person to get a good job after graduation. All graduates are optimistic that they will have a placement in the competitive job market. In any profession, the correct information is necessary when looking for a job because it is the beginning of a long career path. During the lectures and seminars in the management skills class, I learnt much useful information concerning the application for placements and jobs. Before I joined the first lecture, I did not have an idea of how to approach a job search. There was no ready-made guide and every person around me had a different perspective on the job search process. When I began attending the lectures, I realized that the job search is not a trial and error process; rather, it involves proper planning and organization to find a good job. The current paper is a reflective diary of job search, placement, and resume writing.
Placement and Job Search
To conduct a good job search, one should take into consideration numerous factors. During my lectures, I learnt that it might take sending more than twenty resumes before receiving a substantive interview offer. The fact is, for any job advertised, there are hundreds of resumes submitted by other qualified candidates. One should, therefore, apply for several jobs to increase the likelihood of receiving a job interview invitation. During the job search, one cannot rely on one method of filling the vacancies available. In the contemporary world, employers no longer rely on print media only for job adverts (Rampersad 2009). On the contrary, they are now using social media, internal adverts, and audiovisual media. Thus, the job searcher will have to be acquainted with the main methods employed, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, local dailies, company websites, career websites, and local media. A person looking for a job should, therefore, be keen to see these opportunities and apply for them.
Furthermore, there are many agencies in the business of recruiting and placing candidates on behalf of employers. Recruiting agencies identify candidates for recruitment and interview and present them to the company for further interviewing and placement of the qualified candidates. Placement is a critical element in the job search. Thus, a job searcher should find a credible recruitment agency and present a resume to improve the chances of getting a job.
Moreover, I learnt that one should not be discouraged by the specific job adverts. One should not study a job advert too closely. Sometimes, employers are looking for confidence and minimum qualifications for a particular position. Some people perform well during interviews, yet they do not meet all the requirements specified in the job advert. The job advert is only a tip of the iceberg. There are other requirements that accompany a job offer such as personality and individual presentation during the interview. When searching for a job and placement, one should be open-minded. Beginners in the job market are likely to be frightened away by the experience required in most job adverts. However, it is prudent to apply for a vacancy even if one does not have the required level of experience because some people have more job and practical knowledge from internships, which makes them better candidates than those with many years of experience.
While applying for placement and jobs, one should be specific regarding the area of interest because applying for any job at random can make one lose focus and despair faster before qualifying for an interview. It is good for people to have a mentor in the area of interest to guide them on what is required in the real job market. A person who has just graduated may have no knowledge of what it takes to be in a given position and the expectations thereon. One should be aware that employers want honest and responsible candidates for recruitment. Finally, a person searching for a job should be of good integrity and decorum. One should restrain from calling companies and asking them for more details of the job.
As stated earlier, the job search is a challenging venture and requires one to be open-minded. With this view in mind, I am also open to other job opportunities in auditing and marketing, which are closely related to my job interest. My target profession is accounting because I have pursued a bachelors degree in commerce and currently enrolled in ACCA. I have also done computerized accounting packages. I know how to prepare financial statements and books of original entry. I developed an interest in accounting after I was engaged in my parents shop keeping. During school holidays, I used to accompany my mother to her shop. She used to record transactions in a book and reconcile them later (Labrecque, Markos & Milne 2011). When she failed to record the transactions, there was a challenge in reconciliation and, at times, some sales and purchases were not accounted for. My mother could be stressed and she threatened to close the business. I realized that improper record keeping was the main undoing of the business. I started looking for ways to help my mother in reconciliation and proper record keeping. This interest led me to search for information on record keeping and I discovered the accounting discipline. When I completed high school, I enrolled in the university to pursue accounting. I have pursued a certification course in marketing, which gives me an advantage in the job market (Gehl 2011).
After identifying the target profession, I learnt that curriculum vitae and cover letter are necessary documents in the job market as they provide my personal details as well as act as my personal brand. The information on the resume and the cover letter is used to qualify some candidates and disqualify the rest. One should write an individualized resume to achieve a competitive edge in the job market. A resume should include personal bio data, academic qualification, personal statement, work experience, personal interests, and referees. The academic qualifications should be in ascending order from the most recent. The referees should be people of good character and well known to the persons. One should avoid using the names of prominent people in the government or politicians (Rampersad 2008). The resume should be short, clear, and precise. It is advisable that it should not exceed two pages.
The cover letter is the most critical document as an employer can use it to tell whether a candidate is qualified for a position. The cover letter should be a summary of the curriculum vitae. A person should mention all skills and qualifications in the cover letter (Wee & Brooks 2010). It should not exceed one page. The cover letter should be written in the block format and in the official language. One should use the official names and avoid colloquial terminologies. In my lectures and seminars, I learnt that a poorly written cover letter is the main reason many people miss the job opportunities (Chen 2013).
To be competitive in the job market, one should identify ones strengths and their use in the job market. One of my strengths is that I am honest and have a high integrity, and accounting is a profession that requires such traits. Many people have fallen into the trap of fraud due to the lack of integrity. An accountant deals with sensitive financial information. The profession calls for the maintenance of confidentiality and integrity (Rampersad 2009).
My academic qualifications are impressive. Many people in the accounting field have not pursued computerized accounting packages. In the contemporary world, people no longer rely on manual accounting procedures. Due to nature and the bulk of transactions, the focus has shifted to computerized accounting, which places me ahead of others in the job market. I have also pursued a certification in marketing, which is an added advantage as it provides more career choices. I have practical knowledge in accounting having been a shopkeeper in my youth and attended three internships in finance based firms. During my attachments, I gained the practical experience in accounting, preparation of financial statements, reconciliation, correction of errors, banking, and record keeping. I learnt that theory and practice should be blended together to make a good accountant (Montoya & Vandehey 2002).
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My good interpersonal and communication skills place give me one more competitive advantage because I can work well with all people, even in a diverse workforce. I have a flexible schedule having completed my course work and I am commercially available. Employers look for people who can be engaged for long hours as the cost of recruiting is high. An employer will prefer to hire a person who is commercially available so that they can be trained and fully inducted into the job (Morgan 2011). Companies prefer to retain employees as a way of reducing turnover; therefore, they prefer a commercially available person. I have established my personal brand by creating a personal website to market my skills, hence making myself more marketable and reachable by the employers (Bowers & Lopez 2010).
My personal assumptions concerning job openings and search are that I should get a job within a short period. I assume that receiving a job opportunity can be a frustrating process when there are no accomplishments from the search efforts. I assume that the job market is currently flooded because of the retirement age, a large pool of candidates in the job market, and difficult economic times (Lopez & Louis 2009). The time a graduate takes to get a job is higher compared to the past times. In the light of all these conditions, I understand that it is not easy to get a job. One should be open to taking a job opportunity in a smaller firm as compared to the desired large corporations. It is the desire of every person to work for a large company that is already established and has a reputable organizational culture. However, the underlying facts are that there may be no openings in these companies but an opportunity may be available in smaller organizations. I am open to this fact and realize that working in a smaller firm may be a good opportunity to learn and grow a career.
To target a job advert involves formatting a resume to suit the job specifications and writing a winning cover letter. One should also search for information on the advertising company to learn about its organizational culture, location, products and services offered, as well as its mission and vision (Arruda 2003).
Looking for a job and placement is a challenging task through which every person should pass. Knowledge and skills on how to conduct a job search are critical in getting a job opportunity. I have learnt that a resume and cover letter are the most important documents in the job search. They contain information that a potential employer uses to choose candidates. A well-organized and designed resume is a significant success factor in the job search. There are many candidates in the labor pool who are targeting the available job opportunities. To remain relevant in the job market, one should create an attractive personal brand that communicates to the employer that one is the right candidate for the job. Creation of a website with personal skills, qualifications, and areas of interests is a good idea in placing a candidate on a higher pedestal. Social media are an avenue that every person searching for a job should explore since many employers are using them as modes of advertising. The strength of a candidate is the most critical success factor in getting a job. People should identify and discover their strengths and use them to get the desired job. Lastly, one should be well acquainted with the changes in the job market and adjust to them.
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