What you say (Published on Republica)

Every year, thousands of enthusiastic college graduates enter Nepal’s job market to start their professional careers. While some are lucky to land a full-time job right after college, others have to struggle for a few weeks or months. These are exciting as well as critical times for the college graduates.

I also wished to land that dream job with a handsome salary right after college. However, our wishes and reality can be very different when we enter the job market. Often, we believe that a college degree is enough to get a job and I did as well. However, a college degree in today’s economy does not guarantee a job. Your college degree along with work experiences and relevant skills are all important to get the job you want.

I have the privilege to teach fourth year students at Apex College as well as interview job candidates at my company. These experiences have given me a unique vantage point to understand the quality of the college students, their job preparedness and employer expectations. From my experience, the reality is that most college students are not ready for the job market and the interviewing process. Students will require significant mentorship, guidance and the right mindset to successfully navigate the interview process and get the job they want.

The three major improvement areas that I discovered when interviewing job candidates are the candidates’ communication skills, seriousness about their career and unrealistic job expectations. An interview is a chance for the employer to get to know the candidate and vice versa. The most important task for a job candidate is to prepare for the interview. Job seekers should not arrive at an interview with plans to wing it or hope it will go fine. Preparation is vital for a successful interview.

There is no dearth of information in today’s world and you can easily search on the web for interview tips and best practices. It is absolutely necessary for job seekers to polish their communication skills to confidently present themselves in interviews. Working on your communicational skills is the single best investment you will make in your career. The resume or CV can help you land the interview. However, it is the interview that will help you land the job.

Secondly, I have found job candidates not understanding job description when applying. There are a few individuals who come prepared for interviews and then there are some who come just because they saw a vacancy and did not really understand job responsibilities. It is important to research the company as well the position that you are applying for. I have interviewed a few candidates who had no clue about the company and the job they were applying for.

Along with researching the company, it is also important for the job seeker to put things on the resume or CV that highlight their major strengths. Putting things on the resume or CV to just show off or to make the resume look good will probably do more harm than good. Job candidates should be able to clearly explain how their experiences and education makes them the best candidate. It also impresses the interviewer when the interviewee comes with questions to ask the potential employer.

Third, it is important for the job candidate to have realistic expectations. If you are about to begin your professional career, it is best to get a job where you can learn as much as possible even if the salary is not that good. Most college graduates in Kathmandu enter the job market with less than three months of work experience. Thus your salary expectations should be realistic and commensurate with your experience and education. As you build your career with more experiences and knowledge, you can negotiate for higher salary.

Additionally, young professionals should not only consider salary when deciding to work for a company. They should consider the work environment, learning and growth opportunities, and a chance to make an impact at the company and in society, among other things.

Considering the job readiness of many college graduates in Kathmandu, I strongly believe that colleges have to do more to prepare the talent that is entering the job market. Companies are posting vacancies and interviewing candidates yet they cannot find the right candidates with the needed skill sets. In my own small way, I started adding a Job Market Tip slide at the end of each of my Sales Management classes. The Job Market Tips ranged from gathering professional references, attending networking events to starting a blog and finding a mentor. My hope with the Job Market Tips was to prepare final year students to enter the job market with the right mindset so they can prosper in their young professional careers.

There will always be a demand for quality talent. If you are looking for an opportunity to earn and have an impact, you have to prepare yourself accordingly. Do not leave your career to chance. Take action. Pursue your passion. We spend a considerable amount of time working and thus we should pick a company that fits our passion, challenges us and gives our life some meaning. It is crucial to do due diligence on the company and the work you will be doing. You should prepare, prepare and prepare for the interview and one day you will surely land the job of your dreams.

The published article can be viewed at:

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