I’ll be the first to help new grads, here’s why….

I narrowed my search for master’s programs and zeroed in on Canadian universities, especially Ontario.

I got an offer letter from the University of Guelph for Masters of Engineering, Biological Engineering. Without any reservations, I came to Canada with dreams and great aspirations. The journey was a rollercoaster (that’s another blog post) but with all the hard work and determination I successfully defended my dissertation in June 2019.

It’s 2020, a year past my graduation. What happened to the dreams, aspirations and hopes that graduates like me harbored?

Why can’t I get a job to start my career? I appreciate the pandemic has turned life upside down, but the food industry is still thriving.

Everyone is still eating!

Now I’m gearing up to take other courses to assert that I have desired ‘transferable skills’ for an ‘entry level job’.

I started looking for jobs in January, a semester ahead of my graduation. I attended job fairs, which I must admit, I have not found to be helpful – I do not understand the logic of job fairs. One job fair I attended (promoted as the biggest job fair with 300 employers offering many positions) had everything but, jobs!

I understand the intention of career fairs and job fairs, but I wish employers/HR personnel were a little more responsive.  I know they must get lots of questions and queries, but I thought if they were at the fair interviewing candidates, that was their job.  To answer questions and provide feedback.  Has anyone else had the same experience?

I have done my research and know that most job opportunities are discovered through networking.  I’ve approached MANY people on social media. I have been truly focused in this area.  Literally hunting down email addresses, sending professional tailored emails, approaching carefully selected people on LinkedIn.

I did everything I could do, everything I was advised to do.

Just to be clear—my messages ask for suggestions, guidance, sharing experiences and approach towards finding a job—I have not actually been asking for a job or a referral.

After all the messages, here comes the funny part (funny not funny) the message is seen as I try to keep track, but I never hear from the person. Repeated messages are read, but the individual has no time to respond.  It is just so disheartening.

On a positive note, I have had a couple of responses and they have been very supportive.

So, to all those individuals who have been approached for guidance and suggestions, I would like to make a heartfelt request—on behalf of myself and all the new grads who are struggling right now.

Please take a minute to respond to a request, a question or provide a snippet of support. 

Please try to put yourself in my shoes, all I am asking for is a little help, a little guidance.  Do you remember your first job search?  Imagine it again during a pandemic.

I am an international student graduating from a master’s program, I do not have industrial experience yet.  I am keen to get this experience though, can you help?

We come here to gain international exposure, experience that our country cannot offer.

I have seen that many organizations expect us to have experience for an entry-level position. We have demonstrative skills, transferable skills, technical knowledge and soft skills. We are just asking for a chance to prove ourselves.

In my search for job until today, I find it extremely difficult to pinpoint companies who are willing to invest in fresh talent.

My goal of this post is not to bash recruiters or hiring managers.  I am not saying they are all bad, they are not.  I just see the ratio of helping to not helping is 1:4.

I just wish more people in these crucial positions could show some empathy. Think of your first job search or your son or daughter. Wouldn’t you hope they would get the support they need?

To my generation, I would say, when it is your turn to recruit talent, do better.  Show empathy towards students. Remember you were in their shoes. Help their dreams flourish. I know I will.

Author: Fahad Mohammed

I graduated MASc in Biological and Biosystems Engineering with Master thesis and research work in Food Technology and Food Engineering. Interested in the food industry and bringing new innovative products to the market. Passionate about new product development, continuous improvement, business development and regulatory aspects. Loves to work for a company that shares the same.

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