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Job hunting was a 'time of uncertainty'

By Li Hongyang | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-10 08:51

Dai Yujun interviews local residents during a journalism internship in Belgium last year. CHINA DAILY
Dai Yujun, 25, a recent postgraduate from the Communication University of China

I started looking for jobs in October, and in March I accepted an offer from the publicity department at China Grain Reserves Group, a State-owned enterprise in Beijing.

In February, when the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to rise and a lot of companies suspended business or even closed down, I experienced a feeling of growing panic about my job prospects.

I tried to conquer my fears by sending out dozens of resumes. It was a time full of uncertainty, and the experiences of previous graduates did not apply to us.

I did not know when companies started recruiting people or handing out offers. And since most of the written tests and interviews were moved from offline to online, I felt uncomfortable about the interviews and was not sure whether to look at the interviewers or the camera when speaking, which may have resulted in poor performances.

Some entities, such as the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, conducted technical tests before online interviews to ensure that the equipment was working properly, but others didn't do that.

One morning, I was caught unprepared when I was asked to attend an online interview that afternoon. During the interview, the interviewers said they couldn't really hear what I was saying because the connection was bad and I spoke too quickly.

Moreover, during online interviews at my home in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, my parents stood behind me to observe the whole process and make suggestions, which increased the pressure and disturbed the flow of my thoughts.

I sent out more than 40 resumes, mostly to State-owned enterprises because I think they are more reliable both in terms of the recruitment process and job stability, especially during the pandemic.

However, competition was fierce because most of the SOEs only hired one person-I was only offered my job because the person who had originally been chosen rejected the offer.

A few of my classmates were unable to sign employment contracts because private companies wanted to see their degree certificates, but the certificates hadn't been sent out because of the pandemic. No certificate meant no contract.

The worst situation I heard about was that of a student at our university who majored in advertising. She had to restart the job-seeking procedure because the management trainee program she was attending in Beijing was suspended by the company-Publicis, the French advertising and public relations group-to prevent cluster infections occurring.

The pandemic may have resulted in many lost opportunities, because some companies postponed interviews until June. I didn't want to wait, so I signed a contract with China Grain Reserves as soon as it was offered.

I am grateful that my employer helped me settle down early and I didn't have to wait for other offers.

Dai Yujun spoke with Li Hongyang.

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