I've got quite a few friends who are looking for jobs right now. Just graduated from university, most are looking for their first job, and with rare exceptions, nearly all are finding the going very tough.
This is something i don't understand. I open the newspapers everyday, look in the classifieds section and see hundreds of jobs on offer. I casually surf websites such as JobsDB and JobStreet and see thousands more. I drive around town, walk in shopping malls and see many more jobs being advertised from posters and banners hanging outside shops. Finding a job should not be difficult given an obvious adundance of opportunity.
The problem is that most are looking for that "perfect job" - that job which they've always wanted, that job that ties in nicely with what they studied in university. They want to do what they've been trained to do, they want to enjoy the comfort of doing what they know and nothing else. This approach to job seeking is wrong and will most likely lead to long periods of unemployment, despair and frustration. Why? Because everyone else is thinking the exact same thing.
The key to finding a job is to think dynamically, to be flexible and to be willing to explore opportunities that may not fit traditional perceptions of "that perfect job". Essentially, this means: take any job you can get, and build from there.
I graduated with a BA English Language and Literature. My "perfect job" was to find a place in the Foreign Ministry; my language skills would be appreciated there. But when i graduated, they weren't hiring so i needed to find something else to fill the time until a point came when they would be hiring. So i took the first job i could get: working for a web developer as a content writer, with a salary hardly more than a pittance.
That job gave me something to do, it allowed me to learn. I soon picked up skills in all other areas of web development: programming, marketing and project management. A bit of luck on the job saw me offered a place in PETRONAS. Starting out as a resident webmaster for the company (with the skills i picked up at my first job), i then evolved again and began being handed million ringgit projects to manage. Now my core responsibilities are project management and training.
My career path described above is not important. What is important is that waiting for that "perfect job" gets you no where. Taking a chance, being bold and less fussy will allow you to create your OWN opportunities.
Its always better to work than do nothing. If you have an engineering degree, don't feel too proud to spend a few months flipping burgers for McDonald's rather than sit at home doing nothing, applying for that job thousands others have applied for too. Better busy than bored. Better a job of any kind than none at all.