Preparation needs to start way before you create your résumé for a job application, it starts early during your varsity days. You need to ensure that you get an education and strive to do well academically, not just passing in exams. In the current culture, academic performance is an important element, but not the only element used in gauging a candidate’s capability.
You also need to be equipped with soft skills – displaying confidence, good communication, leadership, agility, resilience, interpersonal etc. These skills can be obtained through participation in college or university activities, besides just attending lectures. Moreover, these skills can also be developed through immersing yourself into events, parties, internship etc. There are lessons to learn even in the fun stuff too!
I like to see a balance of academic and co-curricular achievements since both are important. When I review a résumé, I look at the style of it: Is it going with a text book style? Is there creativity? Or is just facts and figures?
Other than reviewing the résumé, I’d look at the candidate’s result transcripts too, as a high GPA scorer may not do well in the needed subject matter for the job. And this needs to be complemented by great co-curricular achievements – leadership roles, etc.
New job skills
The current graduates grew up in a mostly 'digitised' world, with technologies like mobile phones, internet, touch screens etc, where there may be a lack of (formal) human interaction, except perhaps with family members. I would strongly suggest that the current graduates enhance as many aspects of their communication, interpersonal and emphatic skills as possible. In the working world, for most jobs, human interaction is a must, and you’ll not be able to avoid that.
First of all, candidates should find a spot with good connectivity and familiarise themselves with the tools to be used. Assuming that this is a video screening, ensure that your face is always facing the screen (to demonstrate your focus and attention), and the rest will be like a normal in-person interview – speak with confidence, clarity, etc.
Keep moving forward
The economy of the world will never end, and there’ll always be vacancies and economic opportunities. Just believe that the right job is waiting for you, and remember to learn from your previous interviews. At the end of an interview session, it’s crucial to ask for feedback on your performance and for areas of improvement. In the meantime, don’t be choosy, go with any opportunity that arises.
What is needed in a fresh graduate’s application?
Cover letter: Yes
Professional photo: No
Career objective: Yes
Fancy résumé: No
References (referees): Yes
Updated LinkedIn profile: No
Maximum number of résumé pages: 2 pages