Preparing for the corporate world is never easy. When I was 20, I honestly didn’t know what to do or say during interviews. I didn’t know the proper attire to wear, neither did I know what kind of makeup to put on. I was honestly just glad I had an aunt who knows these stuff. She’s a very successful professional woman licensed in all continents around the world.

“But her standards we’re too high,” I thought. “Maybe these only applies to first-world countries. People might think I’m overdoing it.” Ever since I was a kid, I have known her to have very high standards, especially on what to wear and how to act. What she told me before my first interview was way beyond I was taught in seminars and schools.

Then again, that learning taught me it’s always better to have a STANDARD rather than settle for mediocrity. Because honestly, that’s how I landed my first job in a large corporation here in the Philippines, 14 days after my graduation day!

Here are 6 fresh grad tips you can use to land your first job after graduation.

1. Ensure you understand the position you’re applying for

Most of the time, out of desperation of finding a job quickly after graduation, we apply for anything we see on online job portals, eager to find anything we can apply our learnings to in the real world. And we don’t just hit the ‘apply’ button on Jobstreet, we really hit “apply” to almost every job vacancy related to our course.

For a fresh grad, of course, it’s understandable you want to land a job already. Some quickly get a job because of their extra-curricular points. Others get one because they either had a good internship background from a prestigious company and/or did part-time jobs during college. Meanwhile, there are others who have what we call, “backers” (it happens).

Because of these facts, we think we’re losing out on the competition. And quite honestly, this is what most fresh grads are so bummed about. Some employers also post ‘job hiring ads’ for ‘fresh graduates’ with ‘at least 3-years of experience.’ This can give us cold feet; and while some companies take forever to reply, we settle for a temporary job to already earn for a living (or sometimes, experience).

Although there is nothing wrong with getting a temporary rank and file job to gain experience and to already start earning, I won’t deny it’s easy. It can be frustrating and depressing. You can read this article if you’re feeling depressed and blue ‘settling’ for a temporary job.

I’m not saying you won’t land a nice job if you’ve never had extra-curricular activities in college, neither if you’ve had a good internship program nor a part-time job. I’m saying, whether landing your dream job after graduation or not, what sets you apart the competition is simple: knowing and understanding the position you’re applying for.

Take this for an example.

I’ve known a few folks in college applied to a similar job where they hired the non-achiever. One was a cum laude, and one was an average student.

During the panel interview, the cum laude was so proud, she told almost all her achievements back in college to impress the interviewers. The average student, well, she just shared her college experiences and how she can apply everything she learned from school to this job, because she knows that is what they’re looking for. Turns out, the latter got hired on the spot, and she’s going two (2) years now in this big company in BGC.

The lesson here is this: it doesn’t matter how much you’ve achieved in school or in life. That’s just a bonus. If you’re “street-smart” enough to know what your employer wants, you have an edge.

2. Take time to know the company and what it fights for

Most people don’t realize how valuable this is. If your employer realizes you’ve invested so much time learning what they fight for – their mission and vision, they will automatically get the idea you’re 100% interested to work for them.

When you do this, not only will you impress your employer but also give them a hint you’ve already known them before they can even hire you. This will also reflect under your work attitude, and how resourceful you can be.

3. Apply to ONE job at a time

I know most of you will disagree to this. For you, having a “backup” job application to ‘secure a position if the other one fails’ is a must.

WRONG!

If you apply for several jobs all at the same time and they all call and text you for an interview all at once, which interview schedule are you choosing? The company with a potential better pay? Your dream job? A job that has a good-sounding title? You won’t know.

What’s displeasing is your employers would think you aren’t interested enough to work for them because you’re trying to catch up on another interview. And if you ditch the other because your time couldn’t afford it, you might end up blacklisted or have a bad reputation for the company.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t apply to multiple jobs, I’m saying you MUST limit your application. If you’re applying for a similar job that has vacancies over the next few days, do item #1 and #2 and assess if this is the job you want. Because companies, especially big ones, require a more extensive job description. There could be some qualifications you may not agree on or are prepared for.

In the end, it’s always great do 1, 2, and 3 as a pre-requisite to ensure the job you’re applying for is what you really want and can confidently do so you won’t miss out your chances.

4. Wear light make-up, stockings with a skirt, or slacks

During my first few years in Manila, I’ve seen TONS of applicants wearing smart casuals during interviews or applications.

For some companies like the BPO industry, it’s okay to wear anything. But for most corporate offices, this is a huge mark down!

If your employer sees you haven’t made an effort to dress up for them, they will automatically assume you’re not interested enough for this job. That’s why my aunt advised me a few tips:

“If you’re wearing a corporate skirt, always wear stockings underneath and black shoes with 2-inch heels. Your inside shirt should appear smart-casual and not ordinary tees, and your hair must either be brushed-up or behind your ears.”

To be completely honest, I found it absurd at first, thinking I’d be over-dressed in my job. What I didn’t expect was my (soon-to-be) immediate supervisor commending the effort. It’s pretty embarrassing at first because I wasn’t used to overdoing an attire, but look – they taught I was beyond ready to do this job… even for a fresh grad!

5. Make it about the COMPANY and NOT yourself

This is also something most applicants don’t understand.

During interviews, we always try to brag our achievements we’ve written on paper that we don’t realize it just bores the employers.

TIP: You HAVE to make it about them.

For example, if your employers asks you to “tell them about yourself,” you don’t blatantly tell them “your name, age, address, telephone number, etc.”  You tell them who you are, what you do, and HOW it can be applicable for the job position.

I, for example, was once asked to tell them about myself that was not found on my resume. I told them, “I am a simple girl who likes writing when I had free time. And because of this, I was able to develop my writing skills which I can contribute to the company if the opportunity presents itself.”

Through this, you’re not just telling your employer who YOU are, you’re also telling them WHAT you can present aside from the skills in your resume. You can view this article for more interview tips.

6. Always be confident, sit with a proper posture, and be prepared

Nothing beats preparedness more than being confident and exuding confidence itself on how you present yourself.

Here’s a secret: most people, especially job applicants, get nervous. WE ALL DO. You just have to make your employer feel you know what you’re talking about. By doing this, you give them an impression you can do the job description, and can “guarantee” them you’ll do well that they must ‘hire you’ to ‘see what you’ve got‘ themselves.

Are your interviews coming up soon? Share us your thoughts and experiences!