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Even before I graduated from college last month with the degree of BSBA major in Marketing, I was already worried about whether I’ll be able to get the right job for me what with thousands of college graduates also looking for jobs.  I know that I should not just get any job but get the right job.  The advertisements for job openings are mostly from call centers but I don’t want to work in a call center company.

How shall I go about looking for the right job?  Please advise me.

Ms. Anxious Job-Seeker

 

I’m glad that you are aiming to get the right job and not just any job.   Getting the wrong job which is not in line with the course that you took, assuming that marketing is the right career for you, can derail your getting the right job and starting your career.

 

The right job in your chosen career is one where there is a fit between the requirements of the job on one hand, and your interest, aptitudes, personality and the skills you easily learned and enjoy using, on the other hand.  For example, in marketing the most common entry jobs are market research and sales.   From either of these two entry jobs, your work experience can very well set you off on a marketing career.

 

To do a successful job hunt, here are my suggestions for you to remove your anxiety and maximize your chance to get the right job:

 

  1. Develop a network – A network consists of people you know who can furnish you the information you need or refer you to people who can give you the desired information.  Initially, your network consists of your professors in your major subject, your parents, uncles and aunts and their  friends who can refer you  further to their friends and relatives who can give you information on

-           Entry level jobs in your chosen career

-           What these jobs require

-           Where to apply for these jobs i.e., what companies you can apply to and in what industry

 

Information about the industry is important for you to know the working conditions e.g., working hours, reward system, physical environment, location, etc., which are important for job satisfaction.  Perhaps your dislike to work in a call center is based on information about working conditions.

 

  1.  Make a list of these entry-level jobs that you gathered from your network, in what companies and industries can these be found.  Scan the advertised job positions that will use the technical skills of your major subject.

 

  1. Advertise yourself.  Tell people in your network that you are seeking the job positions you have identified.  There may be no job vacancies now but there might be vacancies later as people are moved laterally, resign or are retired.

 

  1. Look for companies that offer these entry-level jobs.  List down these companies and what industries.  Sources of information: (1) your network,         (2) advertised job vacancies in newspapers, (3) the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in your city government or municipality, (4) job fairs usually held in shopping malls, (5) the internet such as Jobstreet and the PESO’s Phil-job.net.  You register in the latter when you log on to it and you get a list of vacancies; in what companies in the region, city or municipality have these vacancies and whom to contact.  (6) alumni office of your school, etc.  Both your ears and your eyes must be tuned in to information like these.

 

  1. Make your 1-page Resumé. Prepare a good and attractive Resumé.

There are tips on how to make a Resumé on-line or borrow a book where you can see a format to copy.  A brief Resumé has the following parts.

-       Your picture in the upper right hand corner

-       At the middle of the page your full name, address and contact number(s)

-       Career objective.  This should state your goal for the next five years specifying the position and function and why.  Ex.: In five years I see myself as a sales supervisor in a consumer company, leading a sales team that contributes to the revenue and profitability of our company.

-       Key achievements in school.  List down the organizations of which you were a member, your position in each, and what contributions you made

-       Key competencies.  List down your skills which you learned from formal classes, laboratory, workshops, apprenticeship, on-the-job training, volunteer work, or summer jobs. Include your computer and communication skills.  Examples:  conducting interviews house-to-house, collating and organizing data, summarizing and making reports; speaking to a group with self-confidence; working well with people; etc.

-       Work experience.  List down your apprenticeships, or on-the-job training, summer jobs, etc.  Cite the company, duration, tasks performed and skills learned.

 

Since you are applying for entry-level positions, there is no need to vary or to tweak the data in your Resumé to fit a certain company or industry you are applying to.

 

Make sure that your Resumé is pleasing to the eye.  Invest on good 81/2” x 11” paper with your 2×2 picture.  A good Resumé will not get you a job but it will open the door for an interview.

 

Have copies of your Resumé to give out to those who ask for it.  Write down the names and contact numbers of those to whom you have given your Resumé and do a follow-up on each of them every week or two.  Do this during their break time and respectfully without intruding into their work or rest.

 

  1. Prepare yourself for a successful interview.  In fact, when you visit a PESO or go to a job fair, be prepared with your Resumé and for the possibility of being interviewed.  Prepare your answers to frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) such as:
  • “Tell me about yourself”
  • “What are your strengths “
  • “What are your weaknesses”
  • “Why should we hire you.”

 

You can look up the internet or books that contain tips to give you an idea on how to answer these and other questions likely to be asked.  My workbook, Career Planning Workbook 5th Edition, sold at National Bookstores, contains a chapter on preparing a Resumé and another chapter, for an interview.

 

Role play with a friend or sibling how you answer this FAQs so that you will gain the skill and self-confidence to answer them when asked.

 

Wearing a business attire when you go to a PESO or to a job fair is suggested.  A good rule of thumb for a business attire is this:  for males: slacks, leather shoes with socks, short barong or short-sleeved shirt tucked inside your pants.  Females: slacks, blouse with sleeves and medium heeled shoes.  No-no to denims, jeans and rubber shoes.

 

  1. Take note of other requirements to get the job you want.  In a study done by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) years ago, recruitment managers cited three factors that led to the failure of college graduates to get entry level positions they applied for.  These are:  (1) lack of, or inadequate, basic entry technical skills; (2) poor impact (i.e., lack of self-confidence as shown in over-all bearing and poise, personality and appearance) and (3) poor communication skills (i.e., difficulty in expressing one’s self in conversational English.

 

With this in mind, you can boost your employability by practicing and refining your (1) communication skills by speaking and writing in grammatically correct English, reading with comprehension, listening and understanding what the other person is saying, etc; and (2)  computer skills such as Microsoft office (MSWord, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, etc.)  Becoming proficient on these skills is your competitive advantage.

 

Doing all these will considerably remove or at least minimize your fear of not getting the right job.  The unemployment picture in our country does not really look that grim what with our economy perking up.  The published vacancies on line and in print are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are many more job vacancies to be filled by qualified applicants.  Be optimistic that you will get the right job.  Keep faith in God.

 

God bless you.

 

 

Josie O. Santamaria

I hesitated to ask your advice about my problem because it is partly personal.  My husband and I have put up a financial investment consulting service two years ago after we retired from our respective corporate jobs in senior management positions.

We’re both in our late 50s and have two children who are both employed.  We had looked forward to fulfilling our dream and ambition to have our own business in the area of our expertise and enjoy freedom and autonomy from having to report to demanding bosses.  However, we find ourselves clashing on issues ever so often that I am tempted to leave him to our business and go back to corporate life as a consultant.  We both have strong personalities.  Sometimes we have shouting matches in the office and we end up not speaking to each other on our way home and at home.  Our children sense this growing tension in our relationship.  Instead of drawing us closer together, our business relationship is pulling us apart.  Frankly speaking, my last position was higher than that of my husband but we both agreed that he would be president of our company and I the managing director.

Since I learned that you and your husband work together, I hope you can share with us some useful tips on what we can do to strengthen our husband-wife relationship as we work together to grow our business and make it successful.  Please help us.

                                                                                    Distraught Wife

 

The pressure to survive and grow your own business have put strain and stress in your relationship with your husband that you now want out. Let me assure you that successful husband-wife business partnership and a strong marriage can go together but this can only be achieved through mutual efforts to remove the sources of stress and to be clear about your priority i.e., which is more important  to each of you:  your relationship or your business?

 

When husband and wife work together for 40 hrs. a week, individual differences become marked and these are bound to produce conflicts unless one is submissive to the partner with a strong personality.   You write that both of you have strong personalities and this leads to competition and conflicts. Since you had a higher position than your husband, this can unconsciously affect your manner of communicating with him through your words, your tone of voice, facial expression and body language.

 

Twelve years ago, I interviewed six couples who were very successful in their businesses.  All of them went through a rough time making their respective businesses grow and succeed.  At that time, the number of years they worked together in their businesses ranged from 12-23 years.  These couples recounted the many challenges they faced and the struggles they experienced because of the differences in their perceptions, in their decision-making styles and in personality and character.  The interviews I had of them and the experience of my husband and myself were published in a series of articles in the People at Work Section of the Sunday Inquirer in October 2000.  Later, these articles and several others published in the Sunday Inquirer were published in book form with the title, Managing Work and Career by New Day Publishers in 2003.

 

My husband and I both have strong personalities, too;  we’ve been working together for the past 27 years to continue to grow our HR training and consulting business.  The advice we and the six couples mentioned above, now give you in the form of tips did not come from business books or learned from a business school but from the “school of hard knocks” i.e., from our sweat and tears, laughter and joys to make both business partnership and marriage succeed and grow.    To paraphrase the priest officiating a wedding ceremony as he exhorts a couple contracting marriage – “only love can make things easy; only perfect love can make these a joy”.

 

When a husband and wife are able to harness their combined strengths and are able to work out their weaknesses, they have what is known as “couple power”.  As one author puts it;  “Joys shared are doubled, problems shared are halved”  when there is a successful union of two persons united in love.

 

Spouses who work together and share the same vision for the future share common victories that couples who don’t work together don’t experience.  They experience the exhilarating feeling of “We did it together!” when they get a contract signed or have conducted a successful seminar, or the bottom line shows a profitable operation.  They experience a greater sense of oneness and unity.

 

How to Make H–W Partnership Work and Succeed.   Here are some thoughts for you and your husband to reflect and tips to ponder on:

  1. Be sure that you are in a business which both of you believe in, are passionate about, and can do together.  This business must fully utilize the skills and experience of both of you.  If one has the technical skills, the other should have the skills needed to provide support.  If both of you bring your respective technical skills into your business decide what functional area is each one’s domain.
  2. Delineate your responsibilities.  Agree on the roles of each one.  Who has responsibility for what, and who has the final decision on what matters.  Give each other total responsibility in your respective area of expertise.
  3. Have a shared vision and mission for your business.  Agree on the values that will shape how your business will be conducted and define these values.  Which is priority: profit or customer satisfaction?  Speed or quality?
  4. Always plan together.  Agree on your goal or objective for the year or quarter.  Agree on strategies to achieve your goal and brainstorm on action plans.  This way you are walking along the same direction.
  5. Trust that your spouse is performing his/her role competently.  This promotes professionalism in your business relationship
  6. Open communication.  Openly express your thoughts and feelings.  And listen when the other does the same.  Listening must be done non-judgementally.  Look at the situation from the perspective of the other person.  If you disagree, don’t just keep silent or give your spouse the cold shoulder.  And do not shout, particularly in front of your staff.   This only arouses the defensiveness of the other.  Anger and resentment build up.  Remain calm and cool.  Do deep breathing, drink water or go away for a while then return to resume the communication in a calm manner.
  7. Respecting each other is very important in both marriage and business partnerships.  Love can’t make up for a lack of mutual respect.  Respect each other’s opinions, judgements and decisions.  Respect is shown in the following ways.
  • Attentive listening and putting one’s self in the other spouse’s place.  Listen to understand your spouse.  Avoid making judgements and confronting your spouse.
  • Never disparage or criticize your spouse in front of your staff or your client or supplier
  • Never criticise your spouse’s decision, or change or overrule it.  Support your spouse’s decision even if you don’t agree with it.  Bring up your disagreement in private, and then let your spouse be the one to change the decision he/she had previously made.  If not possible, let it be and learn from the mistakes and grow in wisdom together.
  • When one is working on and focused on something, or having a meeting with an employee or a client, do not just barge into the room or meeting and interrupt to talk with him/her or with the person he/she is talking to.  A good technique is to call the spouse by mobile phone or landline even if you are in the same office, to ask if you can ask/tell him/her something important.
  • Respect your individual differences.  See and be convinced how your differences complement each other.  For example, one makes quick decisions while the other is slow and deliberate.  See how this difference can be beneficial  to a good decision  with a time line.  Allow your spouse to work in his/her own style.
  • Respect your spouse’s need for privacy or to be by him/herself.
  1. Acknowledge your spouse’s expertise in his/her field of experience.  Let your spouse shine in his/her field of competence.  Don’t compete for the limelight.  Give affirmation and recognition to your spouse before your staff and your clients.
  2. Your organization should have only one head even if both of you put up your business together.   If a body has two heads, it will be a monster.  The head makes the final decision, after discussion with and agreement with the other spouse.

Your employees know where the buck ends.  Strive for unity in decision-making.  If there is unity, the direction comes from God.

  1.  Don’t mix your regular dialogue on personal and family concerns and your business meeting.  Do them separately.  Don’t neglect your children.  It is a mistake to make your work, your boss or even your god.   Continue to give your family quality time.  The practice of husband having a night out with their son or the wife with their daughter and focusing the conversation on the child’s interest and concerns is a good bonding practice and enhances family closeness .
  2.  When not attending business lunch or dinner meetings, take your meals together.  Take vacations together just to be by yourselves.  Don’t take the business with you.  Just enjoy.

Above all, make God your partner in your business just as He is a part and parcel of your marriage and family.  Pray before you do your yearly and/or quarterly planning.  Pray together everyday.  Thank God together at the end of the day, regardless of how the day had turned out to be.  Have faith in God, faith in yourself, faith in and deep love for your spouse, and be willing to accept your mistakes and to change accordingly.

God bless you.

 

 

Josie O. Santamaria