Understanding job market and getting your dream job, part 1

Agata Piotrowska
Monday 14 August 2023

In this week’s article we are introducing Kasturi Dasgupta, who studies in St Andrews for an MLitt in International Business. Kasturi, with her 22 years of previous work experience, narrates a series of two blog posts in which she discusses some of her observations on the present job market, gaining work experience and applying for jobs, in order to get your dream position.

How does the recruitment process work?

“Let’s start by separating the statistics from the spin. While Tech and Finance companies are reducing headcount, they don’t simultaneously cease to hire.. Some of you might have received emails saying that your employers of interest are no longer recruiting or that certain positions are now closed. Yet, August and September are the months when many open positions are advertised and hiring is still ongoing, for both the new members of staff and for those who were laid off.

Recessions are part of the business cycle. They will follow periods of booms. Any leader or company worth their salt, plans for such occasions. A recession is used to prepare, consolidate operations and train staff for the boom to come. One cannot hire employees, train and capitalize on a boom as it is unfolding. The pre-work for the future hiring processes is done by the businesses during a recession.

I graduated in 2001, and there has never been a ‘good time’ for getting a job since. Years 2000-2001 followed the tech burst. In 2003-2005 the dollar was strengthening against the Indian rupee and the jobs were being moved to other lower cost centres such as the Philippines. Years 2008-12 was a period of the finance crisis and jobs were again scarce. Finally, in 2020-22 the pandemic wiped out more jobs and changed the the way businesses were operating. And yet, despite these challenges, throughout this period I have managed to work with some of the largest companies in the world, such as IBM, Vodafone, or Amazon. My friends and colleagues have gone on to lead successful careers with other companies, or became successful entrepreneurs. Thus, the moral of the story – plan for what you want to achieve, find the opportunities, and prepare for the interviews. And you can do it!”

How to approach the application?

“This brings me to the next point: what to best include in your application. We all have multiple skills and experiences which we could reference. Even if one doesn’t have formal work experiences, there are leadership roles, projects handled for charities, and others which can be referenced when applying for various positions. But first, you need to dive deep into each job’s description and your own expertise to pick what is most relevant and needed in a specific case scenario.

Researching the company and their ethos is very important. Read on how or what each expects to see in the CVs submitted to them. Look into who some of the team members for the company are, what skills or acumen one needs to successful engage and retain roles such as theirs. For instance, management positions would often require a fair understanding of laws, governance and compliance. These skills may not be spelled out in the job description but they will surface during interview questions or groups activities. Take both such presumed skills required, as well as those included into the job descriptions, carefully into consideration. Each application makes you better prepared to land the role you truly want.”

How to approach building a career?

“Many of us have rather definite ideas about at least certain aspects of what we would want our careers to look like. One’s priority might be living in a certain country or area, or working for a particular company. While it is great to have certain priorities and some non-negotiables, it is also necessary to have flexibility and to be open to opportunities. A lot of work and research opportunities are available outside the UK, US and Europe: in places such as India, China, South Africa or Costa Rica. Companies are increasingly looking at resources to manage customers outside of the Western hemisphere. Try to look global. Plan a career based on the industry and the type of work you love to do, rather than a specific location or company.”

What about volunteering? 

“This is the most misunderstood aspect of work experience. Businesses today is so dynamic that companies are looking for employees who can hit the ground running. That translates to someone who has work experience. But it is difficult to get work experience when freshers are not being hired. Volunteering is the best way to get a foot into the doors: it leads to securing internships which eventually may lead to landing a full-time job. All experience matters, and learning never stops. Senior leaders have also started their careers in a similar way and they appreciate the initiative expressed by the younger generations. This is especially true for international students.”

This blog post is to be continued.

If you would like to know more of Kasturi’s tips head over to our following blog post, and if you would like to contribute yourself please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!

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