Joseph Au Ba Kiet, a fourth-year university marketing student, used to worry himself sick about finding a job after he graduates next month.
Kiet said he had applied to two companies but had little hope of being employed because companies tended to look for candidates with at least two years’ work experience. Many students therefore become disheartened after graduating because they can’t find a job.
His anxiety faded after he attended a recent one-day workshop on job interviews held by a church group.
The 22-year-old student from the University of Technology in Ho Chi Minh City said he learned useful skills in how to dress well, converse with interviewers, express his personal aspirations, plus prepare his résumé and job applications.
The Catholic student said interviewers directed his attention toward jobs that were suitable for his professional qualifications.
“One woman has already promised to employ me as a business consultant for her company after I graduate,” Kiet said. “Now I have been inspired to work hard and prepare for my final exams in late August.”
Kiet was among 40 people who attended the workshop “A Trial for Job Interviews – Real Jobs” held July 20 at Hoa Hung Church by Damas Young Catholic Students, a Catholic action movement.
Peter Tran Anh Quang Huy, head of the 20-member group, told ucanews.com that the workshop aimed to give job hunters skills that would help them when making applications. They were also interviewed by experienced recruiters from seven local companies which actually had jobs to fill.
Huy, 25, said the program thus served as a bridge between companies and job hunters.
He pointed out that job seekers, especially college students, often failed to apply for jobs as they lacked basic skills such as preparing up-to-date CVs, making job applications and conversing with interviewers.
Some 200,000 university and college graduates from Vietnam’s 500 public colleges and universities failed to find jobs in 2018, according to official statistics. Among the reasons were that they lacked “soft” skills: knowledge of how to behave at work, in interviews, and how to take the initiative in the job application process.
Huy said some youngsters had already been hired after the very first program held by his group.
One of the organizers, Mary Hang Tram Anh, welcomed the fact that the recruiters who attended and actually needed new employees made instant decisions about who to hire at the workshop. Some candidates started their new jobs immediately after their interviews.
Tram Anh, 37, said companies usually spent up to one month deciding which candidates to employ.
Job seeker Teresa Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung said she had been recruited two days after the workshop by the Efficiency Training Center, which holds English courses for children and adults based in the city. She had been assigned to work with schools to organize English courses.
“I am happy that I managed to find a suitable job so soon after the interview,” said Dung, who graduated with degrees in English and Marketing and had previously not even applied for any job for over a month.
The 44-year-old woman from Binh Thuan Province said two years ago she had quit her job with a cosmetics supplier because she had been forced to promote low-quality products. “Catholics are not deceitful,” she said.
Mary Nguyen Ngoc Khanh Linh, a third-year communications student, said she attended the workshop because she needed guidance about how to find work, and her university had not offered such help.
“I trust and appreciate the program because it is held by good Catholics,” Linh said. In the past, she said, she had been tricked into working part-time for a company selling fake herbal medicines.
Huy said his group planned to hold more programs in other parishes in Ho Chi Minh City and beyond in the future, to continue to provide people with basic skills when applying for jobs.
“We plan to build a network of good enterprises to supply jobs to job seekers, especially Catholics,” he said. “Catholic workers are expected to bear witness to Catholic values in their working environments.”
Huy said Damas Young Catholic Students was established 18 years ago and held weekly meetings to share the Word of God and conduct other charitable activities. Its members are Catholic youths and students.
Saigon Archdiocese has seven Young Catholic Students groups, with a total of 200 members.