Dilemma: To land first job, get work experience first

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According to JobStreet.com's 2015 Jobs and Salary Report for Fresh Graduates, over 80% of employers claimed to have hired fresh graduates in 2014.

(CNN Philippines) — Above all else, fresh graduates ought to highlight work experience when applying for their first job — according to an employer preference survey conducted by JobStreet.com.

But how do fresh graduates emphasize actual work experience on their resumés when most of them would just be applying for their first legitimate job right after college?

JobStreet.com's 2015 Jobs and Salary Report for Fresh Graduates said that out of the 450 companies that participated in their survey, 80% of employers recommended highlighting college internships.

The report also said that 52% preferred applicants who already had part-time jobs, while 50% still give importance to a decent — if not impressive — collegiate report card.

Corporate outfits also expressed interest in knowing potential employees' experiences in civic work.

Given these figures, job-hunting for journalism major Kristelle Batchelor may be easier.

Batchelor, who is graduating from UST in two months, has worked as a courtside reporter, a university paper editor, and an events host.

But even Batchelor has her own qualms when it comes to applying for a job.

"Personally, I'm more worried with the logistical aspect. I live all the way in Fairview and all my prospect companies are either in Ortigas and Makati so I hope I can endure that," Batchelor said.

She also shared the common worries of her peers, which mostly had to do with job interview jitters and dealing with competition.

"Also in the Philippine setting, the salary is a common issue. We don't really earn a lot especially in my chosen profession," Batchelor added.

Alma mater matters

While spotlighting work experience is a must, where a person graduated from is also taken into consideration by majority of recruiters.

Although the figures are lower compared to last year's 61%, half of the survey respondents still agreed that where applicants studied is "important." 

A big game-changer is the citation of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) as one of the schools that employers prioritize.

Fifth-ranking PUP may only be next to the the "top four" — University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University (in that order) — but its inclusion in the list of top universities in terms of 'hireability' has helped even out the competition for fresh graduates.

While PJ Ramos-Terso, a human resources supervisor, acknowledged that jobseekers who graduated from the 'top four' still have an edge especially when they have had no prior work experience, she said that there is "no basing of profiles solely on the resume."

Related: Landing a job in the age of selfies and Facebook

What really matters

But according to the Jobstreet report, more than the school, employers stressed that the jobseeker's behavioral attributes and functional skills are held in high regard.

When it comes to abilities, companies eye those who have excellent communication skills and those who are easily trained.

Meanwhile, applicants who show that they have a thirst and willingness for learning have stronger chances of snagging a job. Exhibiting initiative also gives applicants a great advantage.

jobstreet_infographic.png Top traits and skills that employers look for in fresh graduates  

According to JobStreet.com's survey, over 80% of employers claimed to have hired fresh graduates in 2014.

Most of the corporate fledglings got jobs in Accounting and Finance, Operations, and Information Technology.

But while there are opportunities for those who just finished college, some corporations also said that hiring fresh graduates sometimes meant dealing with individuals who "do not stay long with them, have poor communication skills, and have unrealistic salary expectations."

Meanwhile, the JobStreet.com report also said that the highest paying entry-level jobs are those in the fields of Information Technology and Technical and Helpdesk Support.

Related: Computer, IT specialists are the Philippines' top earners