Managing Director of Links International
Fresh graduate looking for a job
Dear career doctor,
I am graduating from a local university in HK and trying to look for a job.
You must have received a lot of letter saying that fresh graduates are confusing about their career planning. Unfortunately I am one of them. When I was looking for a job from internet, I see thousands of types of job industries and functions. And I feel so frustrated because I don’t have much knowledge about those industries, what they usually do and what are the natures of those job functions.
I am a mainland student, and I know my strength is my language. I speak native Cantonese and Mandarin, I am also very good at English speaking skill (well, lots of people told me I speak fluent English). Now I am graduating from a master degree in finance. I asked my program director for advice about job hunting and he suggested that I should not waste the master. But I think the master degree is only an extension of the Bachelor courses. (To be honest, I majored Economics during bachelor and Finance in master, I think I am just taking a year 5. And I didn’t learn a lot from the program and I don’t think a one-year program will qualify me in the finance industry.) But I don’t really understand the finance industry and I don’t want to go with the majority and just enter the industry without knowing what it really does.
I am interested in Human Resources function and especially the recruitment part and compensation and benefit part. However, lots of people says “HR and Admin are not the post with bright future because of the simple duty they need to apply.” And “From HR you cannot earn as much money as you do finance or sales.” I am so tired of listening to these opinions and I think HR could be very interesting (maybe you would say I am too naïve).
I want to join a big international or multinational company, preferably an American based company because I really like the American culture in doing business. I think their training would be the best for a graduate student and most important is that the people working in the bigger international companies with good employee quality.
I am also interested in doing internal finance in a big company because I think it needs lots of professional skills, maybe more than HR (this thought was always agreed by others).
So here is my question (finally). Could you provide me some advice about job hunting? Do you agree with some of my opinions that a bigger firm is better for a fresh graduate’s career path in the future? I am considering to lower my expected salary, or work as an intern before the company turn me into the regular employee, do you think it is a good idea?
Also, where can I learn more about the industries and the nature of the job functions? And I would appreciate it if you can give me some advice about entering HR and finance.
Thank you very much for reading my letter and providing me suggestions.
Confused fresh graduate
Posted Monday 3rd March 2014 11:35:28 PM
Thanks Doc. I really benefited frm this post. I am a fresh graduate of Physics Electronics and am very confuse on the type of job I relly need to do . Not just that, there are also limited job opportunity in this part of the world. I graduated with a good grade, I hate been idle, right now am tired of staying at home. I really need to start something. Please what do I need to do?
Debbie Matson - Career Doctor
Posted Saturday 6th April 2013 01:19:00 AM
Dear Joe Congratulations on taking the time to identify your interests and motivators. You are already taking a step in the right direction! As you develop your job search, continue to challenge the ideas others have for you and focus on what is important to you. Work is where you will spend much of your time over the next many years. You will spend more time with your colleagues than with your family and friends, so find a place you like and care about. Work with people that inspire you and find a task that interests you. A first job out of school is only the first step. At that job you will start to understand what you can do with your education and your skills. And you will start to answer some of the questions you are asking: what do people do in different job functions; what type of work environment do I like; large company versus small company. Going into the Human Resource field is a great idea. You will get to see all facets of the company, and meet many key players. If you choose a specialized area of Human Resources such as Recruitment, Compensation and Benefits or Talent Management, you will develop technical skills that can help you advance. I do agree with you that a large company, ideally a multinational is a good place to start. Hopefully there you will be exposed to a wide range of business activity and a global work culture. No more matter where you do end up, you should continually challenge yourself to solve problems, think creatively, complete tasks and meet deadlines. Be a resource to the senior people in your team and you will make progress and get to learn from them. Now to the big question, how to look for a job? As you already know, there are almost too many options and it is hard to know where to start. Start with the easy things first. Make a list of everyone you know, friends, family, teachers, neighbors. Anyone who works in a company or a position that interests you. Ask each person to spend just five minutes with you. Ask them to describe what they do at work, what challenges them the most, what they like best. Tell them you are launching your job search and ask for suggestions. Once you get through this list, you will probably have a secondary list of people to contact. Go to the Career office in your school, speak to your professors. Look on recruitment websites such as Classifiedpost.com and Smartjob.com and job boards that specifically target your interest. Identify one or two recruitment firms, send in your resume and ask for an interview. Look on company websites and read job descriptions. Everything you do will help you take the next step and will enhance your understanding of the right place for you. Good luck!