As the local job market is becoming more competitive, HR veterans and young professionals express their opinions on the core reasons some fresh graduates succeed as job candidates
Sabbir, a BBA senior, happily celebrated the last day at their campus with his classmates. After eight arduous semesters, prospective graduates will now look at different career choices.
But beneath the gleaming smile of Sabbir, the underlying tension spreads through his mind. Some of his peers have already applied for jobs. He hasn't even prepared a CV yet.
Bangladesh has millions of unemployed graduates every year. Few fresh graduates can make it to the job market. Securing a white-collar job in Bangladesh has become a one-percenter affair.
Like Sabbir, thousands of other graduates direly need a job that matches their passion, discipline and salary expectations. But are they ready for a career as they toss their graduation caps?
Some graduates get a job earlier, while their peers have to wait longer. Why are some new graduates getting a job as soon as they graduate? Talking to career specialists opened the secret recipe for early enrolment.
What the experts say
"A fresher should opt for a one-page CV," Mohammad Nazrul Islam advised.
"Candidates who can adapt to job requirements always have a competitive advantage. Before you apply for a job, analyse where you want to see yourself," commented Mohammad Nazrul Islam, head of Human Resources Management Department at AB Bank.
"You need to explore the background of the company and the potential interviewer. You are better positioned to be a nominee than people who know little about the company because you know the organisation you want to work with," he said.
Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed, vice president and life fellow of the Bangladesh Society for Human Resource Management (BSHRM), added his pragmatic perspective on this issue.
"In most cases, the textbook-based approach at universities do not provide students with the practical knowledge in the professional field," he said.
"Graduates cannot rely solely on their alumni for recommendations, but must voluntarily gain knowledge to compete for their first job."
"Aim sky high if you want to be successful as an entry-level employee. I would suggest improving language efficiency, attire and corporate culture," he added.
Rakibuddin also pointed out an unacceptable career mistake many candidates make while writing their CV.
"I have gone through a fair share of CVs for candidate evaluation over the years. A number of applicants write about career milestones they have never took part in at all. Simply put, they lie about their past experiences and it is completely unacceptable," he said. "If an applicant lies on his or her CV, an employer will never overlook this silly deception."
N E A Shibly, CEO and chief consultant of Pro-Edge Associates Limited, has decades of experience in companies such as British American Tobacco, Beximco and Square. He talked about the titbits of entry-level job reservations.
"If jobs are comparable to a market, the candidate is like a product," he said. "Efficient networking is a prerequisite for keeping jobs. No one should lament about their lack of professional connectivity in this fertile age of the internet."
Shibly also emphasised on the weight of "Plan B". "Career-oriented people have always been prepared for alternative opportunities," he added.
Farhana Rahman Urmi, an HR professional with 13 years of experience, underscored the importance of multitasking as an entry-level employee. According to her, employers are looking for multi-taskers. "When you are ready to take on responsibility regardless of your job title, you stand out as a candidate. Individuals with several skills, therefore, are still ahead of their peers."
"Leadership traits as well as professional degrees make a remarkable impression on a CV," she added.
Faiza Zahin, now a management trainee at Daraz, received a letter of appointment for her position within ten days of graduation. You have to ask how she has an impressive combination of good grades and work experience while looking at her CV.
"For job placement, good grades still play an important role for entry-level jobs. I attended lectures regularly, no matter what I did for career preparation," she said.
"Before joining Daraz, I already had three years of full-time professional experience, which helped me a lot to understand the corporate culture. I have taken part in several business competitions that also helped to set me apart from other candidates," she added.
Akbar Ahmed is an entry level employee at Standard Chartered Bangladesh. He started his career at the multinational bank within a month of his graduation. He majored in finance, accounting and management.
"First things first, graduates must have a specific career goal. Otherwise, it will be harder for them to land their first job," Akbar asserted.
He also suggested that every graduate must pick and choose between private and public sectors. Unless they pick a precise goal, opportunities will slip away.
"I strongly recommend having a good rapport with senior alumni from the beginning of your under graduation." Akbar opined, "IT and public speaking skills will surely make one's resume stand out."
Companies are highly selective and the job market is too competitive – true that. Yet, to get an entry-level job in 2020, successful candidates will prepare smart CVs that showcase their value as employees – grabbing the employers' attention. And so you can find your deserving job bypassing frustration with your multiple skills set, productive networking and dynamic strategies would be qualities to possess. The mantra is simple: be ready!