So you have completed your education and graduated from college or university, now what? Once you are no longer a student, you have to start your journey to the real world by sending out your resumes to various companies. Unfortunately, after waiting for days and even weeks, you have not landed any job as expected. You have already taken rounds of tests and attended various interview sessions, but it seems that luck is yet to be on your side.

This might not be something new that the entry-level job market can be tough to beat, especially for fresh graduates. Oftentimes, employers prefer candidates who have prior experience and knowledge in the industry, thus making it more difficult for raw talents like you to get their first full-time jobs. At this point, you might think, ‘How can I gain experiences if I do not get a chance to work first?’ Well, actually there is a way: internship.

Maybe you are thinking, ‘Is it still appropriate for me to do an internship? Isn’t it usually only for students?’ The answer is, it is not necessarily so. Even long after you have graduated, you can sign up for internship programs offered by many company. Not only the best way to gain work experiences and beef up your portfolios, doing an internship will give you a better shot in getting hired later. Still not sure? Here are some good reasons why you should consider becoming an intern:

  1. Gain skills and experience

Having a degree from prestige educational institution will not help much when it comes to getting a job. But experience is. Therefore, you should take an internship where you can put the theories you learn from school into practice and gain real experiences. As an intern, you will get the opportunity to observe how various roles in an organisation work while learning from experienced mentors. Not only that, you do need not be afraid to try out new things and make mistakes, because internship is the right time to practice the trial and error method.

  1. Explore various career options

Unlike a full-time job, an internship typically has a limited time span which usually revolves within a matter of months. This gives you a good chance to explore various career options and learn more from different industries. For example, for three months you can be an intern in an advertising company, then the next three months in consulting firm. This way, you will know the difference between each industry and how each job role functions.

  1. Figure out what you really want to do

Despite having graduated and holding a degree in a certain major, some people are still unsure of what they really want to do for a living. If this happens to you too, then an internship can help you to make the best decision. By trying out several different roles, you can compare the good and bad sides of certain job to then find the one that works best for you.

  1. Transition to the professional world easier

The real world is very different from college life. In the workforce, you are required to be a professional adult who is responsible for performing a task for the company and client. From internship, you can learn both soft and hard skills to do this task well. For example, you can learn public speaking while building confidence.

  1. Get your foot in the door

Internship is a great stepping stone that will help you get your foot in the door before finally really landing your dream job. By becoming an intern, you can build a network, something that will increase your chances of getting employed in the future.

Next read: 5 Good Reasons Why You Need to Start a Side Hustle

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How is your job search going? When you are tired of the fact that your job hunting is yet to bear fruitful results, you must be thinking hard if there is another way to land a job. Fortunately, more than just sending your job applications to company and simply waiting for the interview invitation, there is one thing you can do to get one step closer to your dream career: build a network.

Many successful people have proved that having a wide network is not only beneficial for your social beings but also professional life. When you meet a successful friend in a school reunion or get to know prominent recruiter, you believe that it is a gold chance to ask them about an employment opportunity. The problem is, using question such as “Do you have any information about jobs suitable for me?” might sound the same as “Please find me a job”. Or another expression, “Are you hiring?” might sound more like “Please hire me”.

While it is true that you might really need a new job badly right now, you should not make it sound so desperate that then people hire you out of pity instead of seeing your skills and ability. Then how do you ask about job without asking for it? Check the following tips:

Research your network you will ask a job

The truth is, you cannot ask a job to all of networks or friends you have. Having network with many recruiters doesn’t guarantee that your job search will be easier either. Asking for a job vacancy to each of them will only waste your time, moreover if in the end, the recruiters who offer you a job are from the company you are not interested in. Therefore, it will be better if you know detailed information about the scope or business field of the person you network with. Choosing one or two person who are in the same interest with you will be more effective rather than asking jobs to many random people.

Define the job you are passionate about

The biggest mistake jobseekers commonly do when asking a job to their networks is they tend to say something like, “Tell me if you have a job, anything will do”. While you are jobless, you should not act like you will be suitable in any job. It will be better to let your network knows what you are passionate about. When asking a job, you can tell specific description, title, and department of the job you want. It is also good idea to talk about your experiences, skills and field you are interested in to open the conversation instead of abruptly asking a job.

Reject the job you don’t want without killing the conversation

If you directly reject a job offered by your friend or colleague in the middle of conversation, the next thing that will happen is that the conversation will end right away. When this happens, this creates an awkward atmosphere that might affect your relationship with them afterward. Therefore, to save the conversation, you should set up your rejection statement by expressing your gratitude and saying that the job will be in your alternative’s list. You can also ask about the completed information about the job, just in case your other friend needs it.

Read also: 4 Most Common Interview Questions about Your Previous Job

Perhaps you have been in the same job for a long time and are satisfied with it. However, staying up-to-date with the current job market is essential, even when you are happy with your current job. Either you are coming out as a fresh-graduate or as an experienced professional, it is imperative to always stay up-to-date with the latest job market developments.

One of the most important reason on why you should stay up-to-date with the job market is to prepared for the worst case scenario. For example, no matter how much you excel in your job role and love your current position, unfortunately company’s financial situation could face an unexpected downturn that can force you to leave.

If such a case happens all out of a sudden, you will be left unsettled as you have no idea what lies ahead on your career path. Sometimes, reality bites. That is why you should always be prepared for uncertain times, this could mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Do not limit your efforts towards learning new knowledge and upgrading information, just because you have settled in a particular job.

Another good reason to always stay updated with the job market is due to job transition. Younger talents with unique competencies out of grad schools are joining the workforce, to raise the competition bar even higher. So, if you continue to stay stagnated in your job role without feeling the willingness to move forward, then you will be left behind those new talents. Hence, you should keep growing your competencies and upgrading skills to meet future business requirements and change in job role demands.

Here are three powerful tips to stay up-to-date with the current job market:

Subscribe for a website related to your expertise

In any profession, staying abreast of the latest information and broadcasts is a must. Nowadays, there are myriad websites on the internet dedicated for various fields and expertise. From food, fashion, photography, technology, to human resources, all you can find easily at the tip of your finger.

One of the easy yet effective way to stay updated with the industry is by subscribing to newsletters and mailing lists from websites related to your expertise. Register your email for the website’s regular bulletin and you can get access to a great amount of statistics and data in the industry. These will be beneficial to enrich your knowledge to remain competitive in the business.

Learn new skills

Personal growth and development is not only crucial for staying updated with the job market, but also vital to stay competitive amidst newer and younger professionals. In this globalised era, there is nothing like a ‘secured job.’ If you do not update your skillsets to meet the latest trend, chances are, your manager will update their human capital requirements by replacing you with younger talents instead. Hence, upgrading your proficiency is highly imperative.

There are various methods you can learn new skills without interrupting your productive working hours. For instance, you can join a training course conducted during weekends, or register for a webinar on the topics you are interested in. While you might need to invest some money into it, this will impact your productivity and efficiency at work.

Join networking groups

Networking is the key to success in any industry. For a start, you should find and join local networking groups related to your expertise. By attending these groups, you will stay up-to-date with prospective opportunities within the industry.

Being involved in a networking group also gives you greater insight, on what is going on in the business and how you should respond to the situation. Make good friends with people who work for the same industry in different job roles. This will help you when a problem arises, as they will provide advice and lend helping hand to resolve the issue.

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