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Job Search Tips

Highly Important Things to Know Before Looking for Your First Job

By Marga Salvador on August 24, 2016

For much of the workforce, their daily lives consist of some semblance of a routine and a level of certainty in knowing that their jobs will be there in the morning. However, it wasn't always like that. Every employed person today was, at one point, unemployed, clueless, and constantly wondering when/where/how to start looking for a job. We asked some millennials around the metro about their experiences (and stories of anxiety) about entering the work force and looking for their first job. Here's what they had to say...

When did you start?

"I started right after grad, looked up postings online, and it wasn't as easy as I thought." -V


"My friend who had already been working in the company I currently work for, doing the job I wanted to apply for told me that they had a vacancy during the second sem of the year I was graduating. Before I marched for college graduation, just after getting my grades, I already sent my application." -Alia

"I attended board exam review and didn't actively search but I entertained emails from HR people and went to interviews just so I could practice." - Marge

"I moved out of my house in 2006. I had to get a job." -Joe

"I spent about 1-2 months bumming around but because I knew I wanted to look for a job abroad. So I bummed around first to make the most of my freedom with my family. Hehe. Then I started looking at international job boards." -Faye

"Since I knew it was going to take a while for companies to reply, I applied for my first job during the week of graduation practice. I follow a lot of designers in social media and so I checked their accounts for studios they look up to or those who they enjoyed working with. I found one that I liked and e-mailed them my portfolio despite feeling unqualified for the job." -Rachel

Where did you look?

"I had to ask a friend if there were any openings at the advertising agency where she was working. It was a pretty good experience considering I had a medical background. The job eased me into the marketing world." -Health Sciences, 2012 

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"...during the University Job Fair... Honestly, the experience was fun. It feels good to talk to different companies about what they can offer to you (especially when you still don't know what you want.)" -Economics, 2015

"The most reliable way of looking for a job is through corporate websites and career fairs. Not all companies update their websites for openings, their websites are hard to skim through OR they don't publish their openings online. Meanwhile, most companies at career fairs only get resumes to build their network which is not a sure assurance for actually applying for a job (as compared to applying for a definite role). I noticed that most major companies hire people by referral--you have to know someone in the company for you to know that there's actually an opening." -Industrial Engineering, 2014

"I spent 2-3 whole days a week just searching on many sites (indeed, angeljobs, startupjobs, linkedin) and making a million versions of cover letters. I think I sent out more than 100 applications and only got less than 10 positive responses. And finally only 2 interviews." -Communications Technology Management, 2014

How long did it take?

"I got pretty lucky with my first job because they replied just a few days after I e-mailed them. I had my interview a few days before my graduation and was hired on the spot." -Age 25"

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2-3 months. Basically felt incompetent every time an employer doesn't call back." -Age 22

"5 minutes." -Age 23

"The wait was about a month long. I signed my first job 3 days after being offered. They rushed me to sign." -Age 27

"After graduating, I was able to get a part time job with my OJT." -Age 23

"Six months. The wait was ok but at the same time daunting. I was getting so anxious that I was already six months out of college and still jobless. I went to sign the first job offer I got because of desperation. Hehe!" -Age 24

"It was pretty simple. I had 1 interview, then a few days later, I got a call telling me that I got the job." -Age 25

"Technically, I just waited for 2 months. I can say that "the wait" was a bit frustrating because of the uncertainty of getting a job. But I can also consider it as my rest time before becoming an actual adult. " -Age 21

What do you remember most?

"I first declined my role because I wasn't happy with the compensation. Company asked me how much was I willing to say yes to. I wasn't ready so I gave them a random number. Although I got a pretty decent starting salary I wasn't able to take into consideration tax...A lot of people I know get shocked by the tax deductions on their first payroll." -Accounting

"First job interview basically ended with the HR guy, without a word, handing me a piece of paper saying I didn't make it. They didn't even have the guts to say it to my face." -Publishing

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"The day we did walk-ins was horrible. I, along with 8 other friends, walked around Makati with about 15 copies of our resumes. We walked-in to about 12 different companies and told them we were applying. Success rate was very low. It was horrible." -IT

"One interviewer asked me about make-up and which make-up artist I was into. When I said Michelle Phan (because she's the only one I know, not because I was into make-up), her eyes lit up. We ended up just talking about how good she [Phan] is. Oh, and then she asked me about my skills and experiences. -Food & Beverage

"I was coming from Quezon City and the interview was in Makati. I decided to brave the MRT to get to Makati right at rush hour. I was 30 minutes late and I took 2 jeeps so I was so sweaty and smelly when I got to my interview. It was so embarrassing because I couldn't freshen up as I was already late." -E-Commerce

"In general the job hunt is a scary experience haha.. Preparing so much for a job interview, then on the actual interview you say so many stupid things hahaha then after the interview parang gahh what was thaaat." -Business Consulting

Any words of wisdom for newbies?

"Be professional but don't forget to be human. Most job seekers let nerves and the fear of being scrutinized get to them so much that they forget they're talking to another person."

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"Dream, but don't expect."


"Don't let the pressure get to you."

"Just be yourself... Show them how the company could really use someone like you."

"The job hunt is a learning process. Although hiring managers are learning about you, learn also about yourself and your strengths."

"I think people should stop thinking about the company they want to work for and focus more on what they would like to achieve in the long run."

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"If you want it, you have to REALLY want it. Be persistent, but find the line between being determined and annoying. Be assertive, and present yourself as if you're the missing link."

"Preparation is key. I used the STAR model. Situation, Task, Action and Result. I would research possible questions and before interviews, I reviewed my experiences (using the model to ensure good packaging) so when asked I don't have to recall that much and could focus more on the packaging of the experience."

"It isn't a race naman, and you're supposed to be where you're supposed to be. This is the age when we're going to take everything in and learn and grow, so chill lang and you can do it!

You heard them, now go get that job!

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