I have been looking for people for my department for quite some time now. Our criterion is that a candidate be a BBA or a MBA, and relevant experience is an added advantage. It’s frustrating that we cannot find appropriate people, despite the fact Karachi churns out MBA like a cat does litter.

This is what we go through when recruiting Brand Executives and Assistant Brand Managers:

Hundreds of candidates appear for the test after making great resumes using resources here and elsewhere; 70% fail for they cannot write to save their lives (but mind you, most of them are MBAs from the top 5 business universities of Karachi). Anyway, out of 30% that appear for interviews, 24% are too immature, too fresh, too dumb, too aggressive or too inappropriate. We forcefully hire 6% of the candidates, knowing that we will have to incur the significant cost of training and developing them in to productive resources.

Therefore, I strongly counter the common belief that we do not have sufficient jobs in our part of the world. We have jobs, but the skill set required to perform them is shamelessly missing. I would, without a second thought, point fingers at the educational institutions, who pay no attention to grooåming their graduates for the corporate world, and pay no heed to the lack of real world connection in their curricula.

Anyway, playing blame-game is not going to help anyone; let’s just see what we can do about it. If you are just out of school with a degree, and the job market is being a pain (even if justifiably so), here are 5 road maps to land your first job. They appeared in the Career section of Dawn newspaper, and are chalked out by Sadya Siddiqui.

1. Find a mentor who can guide and help you network. A professor/counselor who is part of the industry can be a great help. Alumni associations can also present opportunities. Jobs come after networking, so start while in you are in college.

2. Internships are about gathering experience, and more importantly, about networking. While interning, make connections with hey people in HR Dept and in core business segments. Small companies are more likely to hire their intern.

3. Sharpen your skills now; this is the time to brush up on your writing, communication and computer skills. Join NPOs that will help you develop your communication and leadership skills and contribute to blogs; hone your interview skills by attending all interview calls, even for jobs you are not interested in.

4 Volunteer to manage social media for a charity organization, a friend/relative’s home business or even one of the hundreds of inactive pages and groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. This will sharpen your social media skills, which are a necessity in the job market and will look good on your resume.

5. Start anywhere as a first job; a small local enterprise or a call center is a good place to start and make some money. Remember, you are more likely to find a job when you are employed; don’t enroll in another academic program (like Masters) just to avoid the job hunt.

Job hunting is difficult no matter what stage of your career you are in, but when you are stepping in to the work force for the first time, you must put your ego aside and be ready to roll up your sleeves.

The difficulties do not end there though. Are you a senior professional hunting for a new job? If so you might want to consider reaching out to one of the many staffing agencies out there that can help potential employers find you more easily.

Remember, it is called a job ‘hunt’ because it is a jungle out there!