Achievement Unlocked: College Graduate

Your reward? You must work hard for it. Again.

After a milestone in your life, whether you’re a teen, a person who has a job, a retired successful businessman, or even just a little kid, there will always be a stage that is harder than before. And this cycle never stops. Some people can cope and adapt easily to these changes because they must. People can be excited, challenged, or felt anxious about it. For me, life can be a reference to Dante’s Inferno, in which as they go deeper and deeper into the circles of hell, worse parts are getting closer and closer. Like when I graduated from college, I felt that I was only on the 4th or 5th circle. Now, it is proved to be worse.

After college is a critical period. I’ve already been through this shift so my advice can matter, or not. You should learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Oh yeah, and that’s the tip before #1!

Here are some hacks for you in your journey to success, or at least, survival.

1. Your GPA matters

The grade is strong with this one

School kids who perform best in their Math or Science or have IQs which are above average are likely to be accelerated or will skip a grade. This is a form of reward for some. Same goes after college. Top students with awards and honorable mentions are likely to be invited by top and big hit companies to work with them. Some companies pay attention to your transcript of records as it is a factor when applying for a job. I even know some companies who are also requiring applicants to submit their high school grades. We cannot blame them for it is a basis of your performance and skill set. What about the students that were not on the Dean’s list but is a genius inside. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, they were all college dropouts, right?

“So, what are the options?”

Research about the company you will be applying for, if they or they not require an above-average GPA. If you have a target company, likely your dream company for your career, and you’re still in college, study well and don’t procrastinate. If the situation is opposite the latter, choose a lower position (if available) in which it doesn’t require a quota for GPA then aim for a promotion. But that is risky, I tell you.

I was 21 years old after graduation. Pumped. Memories from my thesis presentation on a colloquium were still fresh. I even showcased it on my first job application — which was also my first job rejection. I passed all the application assessments, the exam, the interview, it all went great. Even the interviewer was amazed on my thesis. Yes, she asked about it. Next was she told be about my job offer, we shook hands, stood up, congratulated me, and then the HR officer outside told me that I am not qualified because I didn’t reach the GPA quota.


What a plot twist. Study harder!

2. Your Alma Mater matters

Some tongue twist, eh?

I am against this thought but this is the reality. Still, you cannot measure one’s ability and skill set based on what school they came from. Some of the skills are self-taught and learned from other sources. Even employees’ starting salary are based on the name of your college. School’s accreditation, recognition and awards are important, as it widen the potential of their students. But a school’s credibility can be easily measured by its finished product — YOU! Yes, you, you rock star!

Dear companies, I hope you’re reading this. You can never judge the skills of your applicants based on a college name written on their résumé.

3. Your resume does not impress them

It’s for short-listing and a reference for your initial interview

Admit it. You spent your whole day for the beautification of your résumé, which is by far the most important basis of your skill set, background and experience. You even searched “sample résumé”, “how to write a résumé”, and “things to be written on your résumé to be hired immediately by my dream company” in Google (tap to search). But what is it to the employers? According to them, first impressions are important. But why do they just spend only few seconds looking at it. Yeah, if you write good resumes, you can impress them, given that all information are true and correct.

As for me, I take my chances on my portfolio and online resume, as this provides a showcase of what is only written on paper.

Have the chance to WIN an online resume! ↵

4. Salary negotiations are mind games for employers

Be confident but less cocky and act your worth

Alright then. You had the job offer and will undergo contract signing. But before that, in the standard process, is the salary negotiation. Most of the entry-level positions have fixed salary amounts. They even promote these said positions with the salary amount already included. So you’ll have an option to bite the bait or go with other job offers.

Let me give you a scenario. You received two offers coming from different companies or firms, and is torn between the two. You’ll love to work for Company A as it is your dream workplace but the salary offered by Company B is much bigger. A possible strategy is to negotiate a counter offer with Company A. Don’t get too much expectations because most of the time, they’re the ones initiating it by asking your expected salary and if you’re the type of person that always says yes if got excited, game-over. A tip for me to share is to know when to say “No”. Remember, at this stage, every thing is negotiable. Thus, net income is not only the factor to consider but also the health benefits that they offer, allowances, training, growth of the company, and work environment. Ask them about it. Show them that you’re interested to know what it is to know. Every wrong move on this mind game will be reflected on your first payday up to the day they will sign you for another contract or upon getting an increase. You can read some helpful articles on how to play the game on the web.

Another thing is you should evaluate yourself. Not every fresh graduate have less work experiences than employees from the industry. Some of them became a working student or a freelancer which molded their skill set and will be considered as an advantage if the nature of work is related to the position you are applying for. You can use this as an edge to other applicants and as a ticket to raise your salary expectation.

I tell you, after you win the salary negotiations, you’ll have a smug look with explosions on the background.



Good luck with your application, rock star!

These are just tests, don’t get intimidated. A starting chapter of your career and you need to prepare for it. There are more important items that must be added on this list but I myself lack experiences so I couldn’t share much. These are some:

  • Employee Cooperatives
  • Recruitment Agencies
  • Headhunters
  • Online jobs
  • Online job hunting
  • Fake job advertisements and scams