One of the main challenges for today’s students is finding the needed job or internship. The need for practical knowledge is growing and is demanded by companies, but many students, although they have the desire, do not have the courage to take the next step.
The fear starts with establishing the initial contact with the company, continues with leaving your CV and motivational letter, then follows with the interviews or tasks and ends with the most difficult part – the final answer. This process can take a lot of time and energy and in the end can be quite demotivating for many students.
The Board of European Students of Technology – Skopje (BEST – Skopje) strives to help students with their career and professional development. Emilija Trajkoska, Filip Tanevski and Irina Chabukovska are students, members of BEST – Skopje, who successfully passed the process of looking for a job or an internship. In addition, you can read about their experiences looking for a job or an internship.
- How did you start the process of looking for a job/internship? Did you feel confident and ready for the next step?
Emilija: I started the process of looking for a job in the last year of my studies. As a student on the verge of entering the professional world, there was a dose of fear about what lays ahead and how I would be able to cope in a whole new environment.
Filip: In addition to gaining a lot of knowledge during my studies, I came to the conclusion that the next step to deepen the same knowledge and learn something new is to start the process of looking for an internship or a job. I checked daily on social media, as well as on companies websites, for a position that would attract my attention and for which I could submit my CV.
Irina: The contacts and connections I made during my volunteering at BEST were very helpful and contributed to gathering the courage to start the process of looking for a job.
- How many companies did you apply to before you got your job/internship? How did you get in touch with the companies?
Emilija: The company where I got employed was the first one I applied to. I gave myself time to get an answer from them, before applying to another company. Fortunately, that was not necessary. As for the first contact with them, it happened after I sent them my CV, through the advertisement published on their website.
Filip: I applied to several companies, I could not give an exact number, because I am not completely sure. The contact was generally through the internship application forms or via e-mail where I submitted my CV, as well as my motivational letters.
Irina: I applied to many companies, the number was definitely over 30 and that was really discouraging at times. Contact was usually made by e-mail and sometimes by telephone.
- What helped you most, when writing and editing your CV?
Emilija: I have attended several workshops on how to write and improve your CV. One of them was the “Online Workshop: Job Hunt Prep”, which was organized as part of last year’s Job Fair. It is always helpful to hear some extra advice from experienced professionals, because you learn more about how to make the best possible first impression, right through your CV.
Filip: In the first CV I wrote, before I gained professional experience such as an internship or job, something that helped me a lot when writing, were extracurricular activities such as participating in a competition and volunteering in a student organization, where I acquired many soft skills that helped me to enrich that CV and leave a good impression on the employers.
Irina: As a former member of BEST – Skopje I can proudly say that everything I learned about preparing for a job application, I learned from BEST. JobFair, trainings and sessions prepared me completely for what was to come.
- What was the selection process like? How many interviews did you have and were you given any assignments to see where your knowledge is at?
Emilija: The selection process was in several stages. First, I had to solve a few logical tasks. This was followed by an English language test, which purpose was to assess my language proficiency. Next was an interview with the human resources manager. The last part of the selection process was another interview, this time with the people in charge of the department for which I applied.
Filip: The selection process can be different from company to company, but it was in every company where I applied. In some of the companies it consisted only of an interview, in others an interview and also solving tasks, in some places there was even solving tasks in several circles, so that they could select suitable candidates.
Irina: Specifically for the job position I have now, I had two interviews, one introductory which if you pass you go to the second one. There were other job positions that had multiple interviews, there were some that had only one interview, and only one consisted of a short knowledge test.
- BEST – Skopje organizes Job Fair – Employment and Career Fair. You, as BESTies, have gained experience in helping to organize such an event. Has that experience helped you in your job/internship search? If so, how? Maybe you got a job/internship through Job Fair?
Emilija: Working on an event such as a Job Fair certainly has its advantages. I gained experience working in a real project team, I was in contact and maintained professional communication with people from companies and I gained experience in managing various resources and tasks. All of this gave me more confidence in answering some of the questions that were asked to me during both interviews.
Filip: By organizing an event of such importance you definitely gain skills that will help you in your further search for a job or an internship. While helping to organize the event, I got in touch with many companies. That helped me a lot because I managed to learn how to present myself better to the companies, and at the same time show what I have to offer.
Irina: As I mentioned above, BEST – Skopje and Job Fair are the main reasons and motives for which I started working. I believe that the experience and knowledge I gained during volunteering could not be gained elsewhere. I did not get an internship or a job through Job Fair, although I had a few chances, the reason for that was that at that time in my life I was not ready to start working and I mainly wanted to focus on work in the organization and studies.
- Were there any companies that rejected you in your search?
Emilija: I was lucky to be employed in the company where I initially applied. As I mentioned above, I allowed time for them to contact me, before I started applying elsewhere.
Filip: There were definitely companies that rejected my application, but I did not look at it as something to demotivate me, but on the contrary, it made me invest even more in the search for a job or an internship, and I used every moment I could to learn something new.
Irina: I mentioned above, I had applied for over 30 job positions and of course most of those companies did not even contact me. I think it is inevitable that your applications will be rejected when it comes to applying for a job, and I think it is very important to remember that this is just a small obstacle on the way to achieving your goal.
- What was your overall experience with the process of looking for a job/internship?
Emilija: When you are in the process of looking for a job or an internship, I think that most people have a dose of uncertainty, but at the same time excitement about whether they will be employed, how they will cope with the new challenges, whether they will find themselves in the job they found and so on. That is exactly what happened to me. But still it was an experience that helped me to be more confident, not only in the search, but also in the further execution of the work itself.
Filip: It was an interesting experience filled with ups and downs, but the good thing is that after each interview you learn something new from the mistakes you made and you know where you have room for improvement, so when the next interview comes you can be even better prepared than last time.
Irina: Long, at times disappointing and exhausting, but without thinking I would say that I am very happy that I went through all that and reached a job position that really fills me and makes me happy.
- What piece of advice would you give to students that are looking for a job/internship?
Emilija: To get out of their comfort zone and not be afraid to take on new challenges. These challenges can be crucial in building their future career.
Filip: One thing I can not emphasize enough is to never lose motivation if you get a negative response from one company, but to look at it as a lesson for another time. If you are not accepted in the first company, or the second or the third, there will be a fourth one who will see your potential and help you improve yourself. As long as you want to learn something new and improve your skills, do not let anything demotivate you.
Irina: To not be disappointed or give up and always aim for what makes them happy. It may take some time and energy to get your desired job, but in the end it’s really worth it.
Emilija, Filip and Irina are people who did not give up and reached their goal, whether through the hard or easy way.
Their individual experiences and them overcoming the obstacles along the way, should be your motivation and inspiration to never give up on the desired goal.
Always strive for what makes you happy and what will help you improve yourself. Your potential will be seen and it will help you become the person you dreamed of being.
If you want help with taking the first step, you can start by leaving your CV on the Job Fair career platform (vjobfair.org.mk).