Getting a job with no work experience
Recently I spoke with recent McMaster Commerce graduate Sumayya Randera, who currently works as an IT Recruiter at isgSearch. During our interview, Sumayya discusses how she successfully secured employment after graduation with limited work experience.
OS: One of the challenges that recent graduates encounter is a lack of work experience needed to land that first job that will get them work experience. How did you overcome this challenge?
SR: I knew this was going to be a problem when I graduated. So what I tried to do during university was extracurricular activities. I also volunteered and was part of a committee for ‘Canada’s Next Top Ad Executive’ which is a marketing competition. I developed strong relationships with professors and stayed very active within my school. One of my professors ended up introducing me to a lawyer who was looking for a marketing student in my third year and it allowed me to put something on my resume along with all my volunteering roles and school activities. When I graduated I used all the connections I made to help me find a job.
OS: Did you find it difficult to secure your first job after graduation?
SR: No not really. When I graduated I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was sending my resume all over the place. A friend recommended that I send my resume to a staffing agency and they called me in the next day to meet with me. A week later they had a position available with a hedge fund company and I got the job. After a few months working in investment relations, I got a new job as an IT Recruiter.
OS: What is your job like now as an IT Recruiter?
SR: I love it! I get to meet people and I find people work. It’s a challenging position because you’re basically working the phone all day and every day. You’re trying to match the right job with the right person. You also work under tight deadlines. It’s a very high pressure position but the payoff financially is great.
OS: As a recruiter what mistakes do you see people making during job searches?
SR: One of the biggest misconceptions I had after graduation was that a resume should be no more than two pages. During an interview I had for my current job, I was talking about all my strengths and skills. The interviewer who is now my boss asked me, “Where are these skills you’re telling me about on your resume?” I told her, “I was advised that my resume should be only two pages.” She answered, “How I’m I ever supposed to know what you can do, if you don’t have it on your resume?” I learned that if you can do it, make sure you say it on your resume. Don’t limit your resume to just 2 pages.
OS: What advice do you have for new graduates?
SR: Network because very few jobs are posted for the public. A lot of jobs you will find out about through your network and personal connections. A lot of companies look at referrals given to them from their employees before advertising vacant jobs, so try to find friends that can refer you.