• Melissa Kartini

#MyFirstTime: How I Secured My First Job

Updated: Aug 6, 2018

I remember the time I just finished my Degree. The first thing to do after completing my studies was to look for a suitable job in my field of study. So I started drawing up my resume. It was a simple resume with my personal particulars, my academic history, and my related skills. I remember my senior told me to include “I am willing to travel/transfer anywhere and am able to work under reasonable pressure with minimum supervision” since managers and companies always like to hire workers that have flexibility when it comes to relocating. As a fresh graduate, that was my magic sword to get the job that I applied for.

Besides that, I remember one of my lecturers told us that one of the most important things when it comes to preparing a resume is to make it look great by attaching a nice passport-sized photo. My lecturer said, “Make your photo look pretty. Put on some makeup, wear nice attire, and give a smile during the shoot.”

“I am sick of applicants who send me black and white ID photos with serious expressions like the ones on identity cards. Coloured photos are much better,” my lecturer added.

So there I was, ready to get my photo taken for my resume. I picked my favourite pink blouse with little white flower prints and put on light makeup. I wore dark brown eyeshadow to complement my light makeup, and pink lipstick. I also gave a smile to show off my sweet face.

“One, two, three.” Snap! My photo was taken.

Two weeks later, I received a call to attend the interview. I remember I had my white long-sleeved collared Weekenders blouse, black boot cut Giordano khakis, and black leather Hush Puppies loafers on. I also had my brown tote bag with the holder to keep my certificate inside.

I did not wait long for my name to be called. Before entering the room, I noticed the words “Quality Manager” were placed outside. I walked in, feeling nervous and a bit shaky. A man in his mid-40s was sitting in the room. He gave a smile when he saw me come in, and asked me to sit opposite him across his desk.

He introduced himself. He was the Quality Manager and was looking for a suitable candidate for the role of Quality Engineer. After the introduction, the interview session started. He asked me about myself, my studies, what did I love to do during my free time and a few other questions. I have always thought that interviews are strict and hard, but my first interview was actually quite easy. Later, he explained the job scope and description of the post I had applied for.

He read my resume and saw that I was “willing to transfer”. So he decided to ask me a question:

“What if we need to transfer you to a very remote area? Would that be okay?”

My brain said, “Yes.” My heart, on the other hand, said, “No, you will not survive. No entertainment, no yummy Burger King, no cinemas so that means you will never watch movies, no tennis courts so you have to give up tennis, no shopping malls so you will never get to go shopping and get great discounts!”

What a dilemma.

What should I answer him? Among all the questions during the interview, this one was the hardest for me to answer. Pause. I never imagined myself living in a remote area or far from the city. All these years, I am truly a city girl. But, what was important to me at that moment was to get a job.

I smiled and confidently said, “Yes, I am willing to transfer anywhere as long as I have a place to stay, food to eat and transportation to go to work. It is okay to live in a remote area if the job requires me to be there. And of course, if the place is safe.”

Huh, what a brilliant answer I gave at that time, just to ensure I could get the job. But deep in my heart, I was hurt by my own answer.

A week after the interview, I received a phone call from the Human Resource Department of the company saying that I passed the interview and got the job as Quality Engineer, and that I had to start work in a week.

Two weeks after working, I received my transfer letter. And let me tell you, they really sent me to a remote place. I had to endure 8 hours of driving with some bumpy and hilly roads thrown into the mix. There was nothing nice at that place except for its fresh and cheap seafood and good local people.

Two years later, I am glad I transferred back to town. And the reasons why I succeeded in my interview? The manager did tell me the reasons. First, among so many applicants, I was the only one who smiled in my ID photo, and he was impressed not by my looks, but by how much effort I put into looking nice. After all, I am not beautiful; I’m just a plain girl.

Second, because when he asked me if I was willing to transfer, he told me the answer that I gave him was simple but the best among so many applicants.

I never regretted being transferred from my hometown to someplace remote. In fact, I am grateful for the opportunity given. I learned a lot about life. Life is not always beautiful and perfect, but as long as you are happy and grateful, life will always be perfect and beautiful.

And that was how I secured my first job.

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