How do you know if you’re ready for a STEM job?
In simple terms, the STEM industry comprises careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. And mind you, there are a lot of job opportunities in the field! Did you know that majority of the so-called “jobs of the future” are STEM-related? The problem is, despite the vast opportunities, STEM graduates face a lot of struggles before landing their dream job.
If you’re geared towards this industry, read up on these common struggles that most, if not all, Filipino fresh graduates feel when they look for a STEM job. That way, you’re prepared when it’s your turn to apply! (You can thank us later.)
1. Not feeling “ready” for the job
“When I started looking for my first job, the biggest challenge was applying to positions I didn’t think I have enough skills or experience for. In a way, I felt like my course didn’t prepare me for the real world skills that the job market needs. Every time I read the job descriptions of job openings I’m interested in, it would always require 2+ years of experience or it would require some skills that I didn’t even know.” – Luis, BS Management Information Systems, 24
Graduating from college is an impressive achievement! You worked so hard to get that degree, and now you’re ready for the real world… or not.
The truth is, a diploma doesn’t guarantee how confident you’ll be once you enter the workforce. Ask fresh graduates about their future plans, and a sure number would be worried if they have what it takes to get hired. Do you feel that way, too? #realtalk
While everyone across all disciplines shares this feeling of unreadiness, Filipino STEM graduates, in particular, worry that they lack the proper skills and training for a highly technical job. No thanks to limited lab equipment and state-of-the-art facilities!
If you don’t feel “ready” for a STEM job, here are some things you can do:
- Take online classes to improve your skills. Check out our top picks!
- Learn on the go! Free up some space on your phone, and download these fun STEM learning apps.
- Stop waiting for yourself to be “ready.” Clinical psychologist Meg Ray suggests your 20s is the best time to prep yourself up for success. Watch her TED talk here!
2. Not being “qualified” for the job
“Because I took a science course, madalas talaga tinatanong yung GWA. Minsan may cut-off pa. One time, hindi ako natanggap sa job application ko kasi kinapos yung grades ko by 0.01. When it comes to government jobs din, palagi namang requirement yung professional license para matanggap sa permanent position. If not, you’ll end up in a contractual job. Only when I have my license can I apply to more jobs and have a better salary.” – Vince, BS Agricultural Biotechnology, 23
So let’s say you have overcome that feeling of unreadiness and finally applied to your dream job. Congratulations! Now, there’s this worry of being unqualified for the position. What do you do?
While the efforts to push STEM careers in the country have been encouraging more students in the field (yay!), fresh graduates often face difficulty in getting hired for these “in-demand but hard-to-fill jobs.”
Some STEM jobs require daunting job qualifications which could either be a high grade cutoff, a relevant work experience, a professional work license, or all of the above. Do you experience the same problem with these qualifications, too?
If you’re not yet “qualified” for a STEM job, here are some things you can do:
- Build up your work portfolio. Check out these internship opportunities!
- Planning to take the board exam? Let’s help you review with these super helpful study hacks.
- Beef up your resume. Here’s how!
3. Feeling like you have “limited” job opportunities
“I studied in Manila noong college kasi nandun yung good schools for my course. Okay lang sa family ko kasi they want me to excel in my studies. Noong naghahanap nga lang ako ng trabaho nahirapan kasi sobrang mas concentrated yung R&D job opportunities sa Metro Manila than our province. So kahit na gusto ko sa ‘min para malapit sana, napipilitan na mag-relocate ulit but this time for work naman.” – Grace, BS Biology, 21
There are plenty of job opportunities waiting for fresh graduates—especially for STEM students in the digital age. Believe it or not. The question is, is the job a right match for you?
Despite government-initiated efforts to encourage more people to pursue a STEM career path, graduates still have a hard time getting hired for a job. While there are a lot of reasons for this difficulty, it almost always point to low STEM understanding and appreciation in the country.
In recent years, the Philippines consistently ranks poorly in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Survey for the quality of math and science education. This makes it harder for Filipino fresh graduates to actually pursue and thrive in the STEM industry. Did you know there are only 270 researchers for every one million Filipinos? (Read: UNESCO suggests it should be at least 380 researchers!)
Whether it’s unequal demand for professionals in different STEM disciplines, city-centric job opportunities, or gender gap issues, fresh graduates end up with limited career options.
Do you feel “limited” in landing a STEM job? We got you covered! Here are some things you can do:
- Upskill yourself whichever career you pursue! Get that work advantage with these 21st century skills.
- Narrow down your job options. Here are 3 things you can do!
- Being female doesn’t have to get in the way of your career. Check out these 5 STEMinists and be inspired!
Applying for your dream job isn’t easy. Especially when it’s your first time and you’re pretty much clueless about the whole process. Don’t worry! Take it one one struggle and one step at a time. The STEM industry will be waiting for you!
Ready to seize your dream job? Let us help you prepare for it. Check out more articles like this on the Job Hunting blog section at Edukasyon.ph today!