Graduate and unemployed? You might be making one crucial mistake

A sincere guide for graduates who are desperately hunting for a satisfactory job - step into your employer's shoes!

Hareem Ahmed December 29, 2012
You will not find this golden principle written anywhere, probably not in any of your MBA textbooks. However, this rule of thumb is often spoken about in lectures, among human resource managers, and of course, any authentic job or career counselling session.

If you want to secure a job, you have to show your potential employer that you are driven by a sincere desire to innovate and improve the company (to which you are applying to as a candidate).

Furthermore, you should have a vision ahead of you; prior to this, you should have done some research on what the company is doing and how it is performing, and lastly, be fully aware of your own potential and willingness to work hard.

Oh, it looks very good on paper!

As someone who has been going through this torturous experience of sifting resumes, and short-listing, interviewing and analysing candidates, I can safely tell you that almost all of the candidates who apply to various organisations are solely driven by one thing; the number of figures on their salary package along with other fringe benefits.

For us at least, the sentence,

“I won’t be motivated by a low salary” translates to “I will work here only because you are offering me a good package, but the minute I get a better offer, I will switch.”

Would any company hire such a candidate and invest time in training him or her?

We don’t.

We hardly ever call such candidates for a second interview.

Sometimes, we don’t even need to. They disappear the minute we detail to them the job description, and they realise that they will not be lounging in a luxurious office with a laptop and a high-speed internet connection. They have to sweat it out and get results.

Whenever I hear a general lament about a lack of job opportunities, my mind goes back to the millions of Facebook pages these days that are hiring and/or requesting volunteers. These companies require graphic designers and people who are willing to form social media teams to look after their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Companies need dedicated people and they are unable to find them – simply because recent graduates who have the time and I dare say even the expertise, are looking for something better.

I agree it is unfair to generalise, but my experience in the past five years has only cemented my view.

I believe it is not so much about the studies rather; it is the attitude of the graduates. Having invested sixteen or more dedicated years in acquiring education, most of those who enter the job market are looking for instant financial returns. To my surprise, some of them are demanding salaries that are not even paid to the senior management.

They are unwilling to start from a lower level and work their way up.

Amidst this gloomy write-up, I also want to share a success story as an example. A while ago, my organisation received a resume from a lady who wanted to volunteer for us. At first, a little taken aback, but later we assigned some work to her.

It was unbelievable and we were impressed at her promptness and professionalism. We proceeded to hire her, though we were not hiring at the time she was volunteering. Moreover, she is based in a city where we don’t have an office – yes, she is working from home.

It was not her resume, nor her qualifications and certainly not the name of the city where she is based that mattered. In the end, it was her proactive attitude, her genuine effort and ambition that was driven by herself and not motivated by crisp notes that led to this decision.

My sincere advice to all recent graduates is:

1)      Carry out a thorough research on the company you apply to – don’t just randomly send out resumes.

2)      Prepare well for the interview – make sure you tell the company what you can do for them. Don’t keep asking them what they have to offer you.

3)      Make a realistic salary request – no one is asking you to work for free, but you have to be practical and realise that starting salaries are lesser because you have no or little work experience.

4)      Express clearly that you are a professional and you are prepared to be trained and work hard.

5)      If all else seems to be failing, track down the company on Facebook. (I am assuming at this point after having done your research, you have a list of at least three companies that you actually care about). Regularly check company pages for job vacancies or availability of freelance work that you can do to prove yourself.

6)      Register yourself on and and use them wisely.

Be pragmatic, step into your employer’s shoes before you make any demands and be realistic. Employers need you as much as you need them- prove to them that you are the right choice.

That could be you hiring someone one day- think like a professional.

Good luck!

Read more by Hareem here.
Hareem Ahmed A passionate reviewer and critic of dramas and soaps who blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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