A Graduate's Guide to the Corporate World
Remember all those years you spent wishing time would fly by so you wouldn’t have to keep slogging your guts off memorising all those facts and formulas? Well, the time has come. You've finally graduated after years of enduring the tough, caffeine-fueled, paper-cut life of a student; now what?
Just when you thought the worst was over, you’re now flung out to face the raging, tumultuous world of client meetings, emails, and unreasonable expectations. What a treat!
Think of the corporate world as a collection of secret societies, and just as you would imagine, wiggling your way in isn’t that simple. It takes perseverance, blood (we hope not), sweat, and even tears. But it’s an initiation you must face, and face it you must, alone.
With hordes of equally qualified, and talented individuals vying for the same positions as you are - landing the job of your dreams might seem daunting and pretty impossible. And when it comes to putting yourself out there, there’s only so much we can garner from word of mouth and search engines.
We interviewed some of ZALORA’s ‘cool kids’ to get the lowdown on everything and anything you should know to help you prepare for your job search. Get ready for a crash course on ‘How to Get Your Dream Job 101’.
ZALORA Insider Tips - The Full Scoop
Once you’ve secured yourself a coveted interview, your next task is to win them over. Here are some tips from ZALORA staff that will help soothe your shaky nerves, and prevent an anxiety attack before the actual event.
1. Ask HR anything and everything
If there’s one thing you should know, it is that the Human Resource executive you’re liaising with, isn’t there to make your life difficult - they’re actually there to help. That means they welcome any questions you might have about the interview, what to expect and even how you should dress.
They’re certainly not going to mark you down for wanting to be prepared. If you’re ever wondering what goes on in the mind of the Human Resource Executive interviewing you, we spoke to ZALORA’s Human Resource Business Partner, Reena Melanie, for some insider tips.
TSL: “What are some of the first things you pick up as an interviewer?”
Reena: I think that body language is very important, no matter how well you’re dressed. I wouldn’t really encourage people to come shabbily dressed either, regardless of how confident you are.”
TSL: “What are some tips would you give interested candidates?”
Reena: Managers are looking for very creative, smart, team players. Someone whose traits are in line with the company's core values.
So when it comes to dress code, if you’re tossing up between corporate attire or casual wear; just drop HR an email to clarify. It’s better to ask than to not have asked at all. Besides, they’re not going to fault you for wanting to come appropriately dressed.
2. How to stand out during an interview
Before the actual interview day rolls around, there are definitely things you can do to brace yourself for the onslaught of questions you’re bound to receive. Some of these include studying the scope of work, reading up on current affairs with relevance to the industry you’re looking to enter, and expect a test of skills or two.
When asked about job tips, this is what ZALORA’s Senior Onsite Project Manager, Chris Clarke, had to say.
TSL: “What are some words of wisdom you would share with potential candidates?”
Chris: You have to show that you’re very passionate about what you’re going to be doing. You’re very willing to learn, and do things you may not have done previously - so being out of your comfort zone is the main thing.
At young and fun establishments like ZALORA, originality and initiative are some of the things that really distinguish the great from the good, so be sure to highlight all your previous projects and personal accomplishments. Companies are looking to hire independent and strong personalities, so don’t be afraid to let your confidence shine through - it’ll make a world of difference!
3. Apply to companies that you admire
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to work for a start-up or a multinational organisation, the rule of thumb here is that you should only apply to, and work for a company you would feel proud and confident representing.
We asked ZALORA’s Public Relations Executives, Karisa and Tammie, what they felt was most fulfilling about their role.
Public Relations Executives, Karisa Sukamto (left) and Tammie Kang,(right)
TSL: “What do you like most about your role?”
Karisa: I love it so much more than I expected. For every other job, I felt like this was work - I’m doing my job. But at ZALORA, they really make you feel like you’re part of the growth of the company. You have so much autonomy in what you do, so if you have a good idea, they’ll allow you to run with it.
Tammie: For us, it’s more tangible. You see the results very tangibly. If you pitch successfully to the media, when you see your story published in the papers or online the next day, you’ll feel this sense of accomplishment. You know you’re doing a job well done.
In the case of these two happy campers, it was inspiring to see how they felt most satisfied when watching their hard work take flight.
4. Stalk your dream companies extensively prior to your application
ZALORA’s core values
Your parents might be advocates of the machine-gun method of mass emailing your resume to any and every company in sight, but that might actually work against you in the long-term.
While this method is sure to land you with a handful of interviews, when you’re sending out your CV to hundreds of companies; chances are, you don’t really do much background research on the scope of work or company’s values, and the jobs you actually do land aren’t the ones you’re passionate about.
Put your social stalking skills to the test. Keeping up with the company’s recent activity will not only prove useful in the next segment of your employment process, but help you gauge whether or not you think the company’s values align with your own.
5. Manage your expectations right from the get go
One mistake most fresh graduates make in their job hunting process is that they don’t ask their interviewers enough questions. You’ve got to remember that an interview is a two way street, and you’ll always be invited, if not expected, to clarify any doubts you might have.
Partner Program Executive, Dhinesh Karum, shared the importance of knowing what you’re getting into from get go. There’s no use wasting time waiting to discover that you’re not well matched for the position.
Don’t feel embarrassed to ask questions about your expected pay, corporate culture, work life balance and even the perks! The staff at ZALORA were all smiles when they let us in on some of their job perks. Exclusive flash deals, first dibs on new releases, and a permanent 20% staff discount? We’re jealous to the bone!
But perks aside, the secret to staying happy in your job is simple, it's all about managing your own expectations. If you have unattainable expectations from the start, you’ll find yourself constantly miserable and looking for a way out.
Khing Wei Goh, Partnerships Manager at ZALORA
When asked about job satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10, Khing Wei, a radiant Partnerships Manager at ZALORA rated her satisfaction a stellar 10/10, even after 2 years. Inspired yet?
BONUS: Job Hunt Survival Tips
You’re never going to know until you try
You’re not alone. But more than that, you should also know that you’re never going to fully be certain about anything unless you give it a shot. So even if you've spent the last four years balancing profit and loss statements, don’t let that hold you back from applying for marketing or writing positions.
Start by making a list of the possible companies you’re in awe of, and can see yourself working for. Passion is always the best motivation one needs.
If you don’t get a response on the first try, TRY AGAIN
Whenever you apply for a job, there are two possible scenarios - 1) The company sees your resumes, and doesn’t think you’re suitable for the position, or 2) Your resume never sees the light of day and gets lost in the black abyss of the database.
Many HR managers receive hundreds of job applications on a weekly basis. Imagine having to trudge their way through a mountain of resumes. It’s easy to see how your resume can easily get lost in the masses.
Karisa also recounted her story of having applied to ZALORA more than just a few times before she actually got called back for an interview.
Insider Tip: Rather than just passively wait by the phone for that winning call, why not make the first move? Following up on an interview just might swing things in your favour. It shows the company that you’re not one to let pride get in the way of what you want.
And even if you don’t end up snagging that dream job, all hope’s not lost. All you have to do is rinse and repeat. Afterall, Confucius said “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”
Stop wishing you could be like the cool kids, and actually do something about it - check out ZALORA’s available careers here.
ZALORA Turns Four!
As ZALORA celebrates four full years of fun, fashion, and individuality this month of March, enjoy the last hurrah of their birthday promotions. Stand a chance to win the latest LG G5 with a minimum spend of $100 in a single order!
Find out more about ZALORA’s birthday celebrations here!
This post was brought to you by ZALORA.