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Chasing titles: The race for credentials

Applying for a job can be a daunting task for any fresh graduate. With many vying for the same position, it can be difficult to stand out among the crowd. Ask a fresh graduate or even an intern about the application process and they would certainly say that it is challenging.

What does one require to stand out among the pool of competitors? Is it a decorated curriculum vitae (CV) filled with prestigious accolades and accumulated experience? Or is it plain wit and charm for impressing employers during interviews? Discerning who fits what role is a rigorous process. Enter Human Resource (HR) managers: specialized individuals whose responsibilities range from scouting potential recruits and fostering growth among employees, to championing leadership and excellence in the workforce.

For growth and experience

Several University organizations hold numerous year-round activities for the Lasallian community to participate in. From the annual DLSU Job Expo to smaller organization-based activities such as the Industrial Engineering Convention or the Global Finance Convention, students are offered a plethora of opportunities to hone skills and acquire experience essential for their chosen or targeted career paths.

“DLSU is preparing their students for the world of work,” comments Paulette Liu on the wide variety of extracurricular events the University offers. As President of PSC Primary Skills Incorporated—a recruitment agency registered under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration—Liu is well aware of the skills necessary to survive in the corporate world, and notes that these initiatives of the University help students develop skills, including “leadership, planning, organizing, collaborating, and working [in] teams.”

For HR practitioners such as June Lalimarmo, HR Head for the Primary Properties Corporation, hearing about the numerous management opportunities the University provides is a source of hope and elation. “I am happy that these students have these opportunities at their grasp,” he says. “This creates an environment where leadership and values are shaped and tested.” 

James Villalon II, an HR practitioner for Primary Group of Builders, also acknowledges the efforts made by the University to offer career-building avenues to the student body. By opening up opportunities for students to choose from, they would be able to establish skills such as “leadership, problem solving, and decision-making” which are considered as “the basic competencies that most [organizations] require. ”

There is, however, a notion that some students who participate in University-related activities only do so to obtain premier positions that they could add to their CV’s. This is where the significance of HR managers comes into play—by sieving out potential employees.




Of accolades and activities

Some HR managers express concern over how some applicants collect accomplishments for the sole purpose of padding out their CV. Lalimarmo, having worked in HR for over 10 years, frowns upon this practice saying “Generally, I am not in favor of such [a] reason [being the] only [basis for taking part in these opportunities].” She notes, however that HR managers must meticulously go through an applicant’s CV to better discern if they are right for a particular position, explaining that they “must also factor in the circumstances, [strengths, and capabilities] of an individual.”

Oftentimes, HR practitioners take precautions to determine the authenticity of the items listed on an applicant’s CV. “There are some people who pretend to have experiences in joining [organizing committees] or school organizations, which is why we conduct an interview first through a phone call so that we may get to know the applicants more,” says Sam* (MGT, ‘20), a former intern for a fast-moving consumer goods company under the Marketing Capability and Human Resource departments. “During phone call interviews, we ask them about their past work experiences and their work ethic. Most of the time we can tell from their way of answering whether they are confident or lying about what they have written in their resumés,” she furthers.

In some cases, however, HR practitioners do not focus as much on why applicants chased achievements, as these reasons do not necessarily define the kind of person they are; rather, they attempt to examine whether the applicants gleaned anything worthwhile from said activities. “Whatever their reasons [may be] for joining [said events], what is more important are the lessons they have learned by joining those organizations,” says Liu. 

Villalon agrees, saying that the reasons behind taking up extracurriculars are not the biggest concern when assessing an applicant. “Regardless of [their] motives [for taking part in university-offered opportunities], for me the important factor will be the learning experience and how these experiences help them in landing a job,” he says.

For hardened HR practitioners like Villalon, the key to evaluating applicants is basing who they are at their core. “When hiring for new recruits, I always look at talent and potential—job knowledge and skills can be learned,” he comments. 

The heart of the race

A proper presentation of one’s CV certainly plays a big part in attempting to land a job, so there’s no shame in trying to get a few more words on the page to boost one’s chances. However, the things that go on the CV aren’t everything, and there is so much more to getting a job than being able to look promising on paper. “[My] advice for graduating students: learn early on how to present yourself, manage your personal brand—especially your social media accounts—[and] don’t hide your ‘awesomeness’, ” says Villalon. “Make every application an opportunity to start building your professional network.”

Despite the seemingly cutthroat nature of the corporate world, ultimately it is what is in the heart of the applicant that wins out in this race for credentials. “Listen, ask questions, be open and willing to learn, [and] maintain honesty and integrity at work,” says Liu, offering advice to those seeking careers out there. “These [are values that] cannot be compromised.”

*Names with asterisks(*) are pseudonyms.

By Joaquin Luna

By Westin Perez

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