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Tips to guide Undergraduates seeking for career opportunities.

Mr. Lional Wijesiri writes on "Churning out graduates for Employment" an excellent career guidance tips in a press article placed in Daily News on 4th December. The extracted article is all about advising which caters to all university undergraduates seeking job opportunities.

The article reveals as below,


Harvard scholar, Professor William Pannapacker offers some general advice for the university under-graduates, based on his own experiences, observations, and conversations with the students. Our under-graduates will immensely benefit out of his experience, if they care to read the following carefully. -


A good education should have prepared you to learn almost anything. Don't dismiss whole occupations as the work of "corporate drones" or regard any field as beneath you.


If possible, look beyond the local labor market; consider opportunities in an international context. There are often unexpected zones of economic growth in the midst of any recession.


Do not make decisions on the basis of inadequate information, particularly about future job prospects. Informational interviewing is the best thing you can do because you are getting up-to-date, insider's knowledge, you are practicing your interviewing skills, and you are building a network.


Most job opportunities are unadvertised; they are often filled by personal contacts. Tell everyone you know that you are job hunting.


Practice speaking with people in your desired occupation; make your resumes and cover letter flawless and perfectly tailored for the positions you are seeking. Develop a variety of ways of describing your aptitudes and experiences to deploy in interviews.


Cultivate a positive attitude, mind your manners, dress appropriately, and build a reputation for integrity and reliability. Accept that you're not too good for any position -yet.


Remember that there are plenty of people without university degrees who know things that are worth learning. Get over yourself and learn the art of cooking food, doing a bit of carpentry work, or gardening - with enough care that you come to enjoy them and value those who do them well.


Seek continuous training and experience in support of your emerging career path. But avoid undertaking expensive and time-consuming education for positions that may not be available by the time you finish.


You can't know the future, so why not hold on to your optimism? A tough labour market can cultivate strengths that you never developed before. Unemployment can lead to despair and flight, but it can also strengthen character.

There are many actions one can take that can contribute to a reversal of fortune, and that can ward off the despair of giving up the search entirely or fleeing into a graduate program for the wrong reasons. Perhaps the one virtue we can convey to our students that includes all of the generalizations is humility: Accept that he may have to start at the very bottom - lower than he ever imagined - but keep his eyes open, and begin his ascent without looking back.

Tips on how to write a winning CV

Your CV is the first impression an employer gets of you and you will only have a few moments to grab his attention and keep him reading on and possibly call you for an interview. Therefore it is essential that you communicate accurately with your employer through your CV and use it as a stepping stone to the next stage of your job search. Here are some tips that will help you write an effective CV.

Include appropriate contact details

Make sure that you include your full name, address and contact details (phone numbers and contact details) clearly, making it very easy for the employer to contact you. Ensure that your email address doesn't read unprofessional terms (eg: dreamgirl). Also try not to use your work email address. Having an independent email address will help you communicate freely with prospective employers.

Clear Objectives Statement

It would be ideal if your CV has a clear and concise objective with reference to the position you are applying for. This objective statement should be accompanied by a brief skill statement summarizing the reasons why you are suitable for this position (Eg: Seeking the role of a Senior Accountant where I can apply my 2 years experience in accountancy in a leading manufacturing organisation as well as my skills in quantitative analysis, financial modeling and financial control). This will provide the employer with ample reason as to why he would want to have you within the organisation. You need to ensure that the goal of your CV is to do this.

Include all key facts

Educational Qualifications and Professional Experience is the core of a successful CV. Listing out your educational qualifications and experience along with correct dates, titles, institution names and descriptions is therefore very important. Use plenty of keywords in your CV that are relevant to the position you are applying for. This will be particularly useful when applying online as employers will search your profile using keywords. Use of appropriate key words could ensure that your CV is not overlooked by employers.

Avoid using passive verbs

Keep in mind to use active verbs that show leadership and achievements rather than weak passive words. Try to use words like developed, created, pioneered, achieved etc as these words will convey the image of a very dynamic and motivated professional.

Focus on the job

Focus your CV on the position for which you are applying. If you're applying for jobs in two different industries, make sure that you use CV's that are specific to each industry. Emphasize objectives, skills, achievements and qualifications that are relevant to the industry to which you're applying.

Use short sentences

Try to avoid using the word 'I' in your job descriptions and make sure that your sentences are short and concise ensuring that they begin with strong active words where-ever possible.

Use appropriate formatting

Ensure that you use appropriate formatting on your CV. A poorly formatted CV will discourage any employer from reading its contents. Avoid cluttering sections of your CV and adhere to an acceptable format that is professional, simple and attractive to the eye. Provide information in bullet point form as much as possible rather than writing long paragraphs. Do not use unnecessary animations or illustrations.

Proofread before submitting

Remember to proofread your CV thoroughly before forwarding it to prospective employers. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and other language errors could end up being rejected immediately by the employer. Run a spell check on the document and preferably ask someone else to go through your CV to ensure that nothing has been missed out.

Avoid lies

Avoid including lies and half-truths in your CV at all costs. These will be found out sooner or later. Try not to include inaccurate qualifications, experience details and such. Employers do detailed background checks regarding those who they want to recruit and your integrity could be at stake if you are not completely honest with them.

Interview Tips

Is it ok to be nervous before an interview?

Yes of course. There is no problem at all with being nervous about an interview. Do not try to change how you feel. Simply accept it as it is reality and trying to change it will not make you feel good.

Think about the positives. It'll be great if things go well and you get the job. If things don't go well, don't worry. Think of it as a learning experience. You will do better at your next interview.

Look better and feel good about the way you look

Always make sure you dress to impress. First impressions go a long way, and many interviewers will size you up the first time they see you. If you don't have appropriate clothing and are can't afford to spend too much, don't worry there are some good bargains out there. Make sure the clothes you choose matches your physique.

Remember that it's really important that you feel good about how you look. It'll boost your confidence when going in to face your interview.

Remember to be quiet, listen and focus

Many candidates make the mistake of talking too much during an interview. You have to ensure that you listen to the questions that are being asked and answer the question to the point. Keep the length of your answer to the minimum. Ensure that you do not move outside the scope of the question. Watch the interviewer's eyes to see whether he's still listening to you. If his eyes start to wonder, you've lost him.

Negotiating a good salary

If you are an experienced and qualified professional, remember that your employer will be anxious to recruit you provided you have the attributes they are looking for. If you feel that the interview has gone well and salary negotiations come up, make sure you state your expected figure confidently. Make sure that this figure isn't unrealistically high. Be very enthusiastic, confident and persuasive in presenting your case to justify the salary you are asking for.

Ten (10) suggestions/advice for those applying for employment through topjobs

As a Free Service to Applicants for Employment, who use topjobs, we have engaged several Experts to conduct Surveys and Studies of the Current /On Going Job Market in Sri Lanka and topjobs offers you the following Ten (10) Suggestions/Advice as Guidance.

Dear Job Seeker

    1. Please do not think you can find a job of your choice simply because of your Educational/Technical Qualifications. Remember that Sri Lanka is a country with a large number of educated/qualified people who are seeking employment or better employment. You are just one of them and thus there is very heavy competition for Jobs.

    2. EMPLOYERS look for Applicants with Experience. So experience is as important or even more important than Academic/Educational Qualifications.

    3. If you have never been Employed before it may be a disadvantage when you apply for a Job. So we strongly advise you not to refuse to accept a Job that is offered to you even if that Job is not good enough according to the qualifications/education you have obtained. Do not remain Unemployed. Every Job that you do gives you the much needed experience.

    4. There are several reasons why you must accept the first job you are offered and obtain experience. When you stay at home after obtaining your educational qualifications, your parents look after you and protect you. As a result you do not experience the real problems of the outside world which is a highly competitive world. Your first Job will make you go out of your home (in which you live a protected life) and you will soon experience the challenges of the real world and the Market Place. You will also meet other employees and learn of their experiences as well. You become more "Socially suitable" for employment.

    5. When you apply for a Job, please ensure that your Job Application is properly drafted. Submit a good Curriculum Vitae (C.V) or Bio-Data as your application. The C.V or Job Application is not easy to prepare. You should consult someone with knowledge or experience in drafting your Job Application. For a sample Job Application for a software (Computer) Programmer's Job see the sample prepared by topjobs which you can look at (See Box)

    6. Have ALL your Educational Certificates and Testimonials ready. These Certificates and Testimonials will speak about your career and Experience. It is advisable to SCAN the more important Educational Certificates and Testimonials. Then you can submit the scanned copies with your CV when you apply for a Job electronically through topjobs. The Scanned Copies should be submitted ONLY if the Advertisement for the Job has stated to send educational certificates and testimonials with your Job Application. If the Job Advertisement does not ask for Certificates etc do not send them. You can take them with you if you are called for an interview.

    7. If the Employer calls you for an Interview please be present at the Interview Venue on time. It is best to go early and wait. If you are not sure of the location of the interview venue, go there on an earlier day and see how you can get there on time for the interview. Be properly attired or dressed when you present yourself for the Interview. Appearance matter and a poor impression will be formed about you by those who interview you if you are not properly attired. Like Interview marks being given for educational qualifications and experience, marks are also given for personality and appearance of the Job applicant at an Interview.

    8. If you have Not been to a previous Job Interview, get some practice by having a "Mock Interview". A "mock interview" is where you get someone to interview you and you supply answers to the questions asked. If you practice such an interview session, you will be able to face your first real Job Interview with confidence. Many Job applicants, who have never experienced a Job Interview, fare badly at their first real Job interview. Employers always have an Interview before selection to fill Job Vacancies.

    9. Also you must carefully study the Job descriptions given in the Job advertisement. What did the advertisement say about the type of person required to fill the vacancy? What are the duties and tasks that you will have to perform if selected? A careful study of this information is essential because you can be questioned on these matters at the Interview.

    10. Also, we must emphasise the need for you to have a good command of the English Language. The Private Sector of Sri Lanka works a lot in English and the Private Sector always prefer to fill vacancies with persons who can speak, write and understand English. Ability to speak in English is important. At the Interview you may be asked questions in English and requested to give Answers in English. Accordingly, if you wish to get a good job in the Private Sector, knowledge of English is very important.

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