This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Yash C. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How To Look Out For Yourself When Applying To Your First Job

More from Yash C

Kya aapke job application mein experience kam hain? Are you struggling to secure internships and jobs? Are there aspects you do not understand regarding applying for a job? It’s okay! I see you and I hear you. 

When it comes to applying to one’s first internship or a job, we all have nerves to deal with—one gets stuck with the tricky situation of needing to have a perfect job application, even though one has no experience… With jobs or applications. 

The first job is an important step towards one’s future, professional success and must be taken seriously. Your first job is the right place to experiment, explore, make new connections, and learn new things.

mere ko to aisa dhak dhak Blank Template - Imgflip
It’s natural to be nervous before applying to your first job/internship. Representational Image. Credit: imgflip.com

Therefore it’s of the utmost importance that one does not slip on a metaphorical banana peel during the very first step. 

But, the onus is not just on us to get better. The job industry itself is lacking in so many ways. From unequal stipends and hidden clauses in contracts, to having expectations of you which were not clearly spelled out in the job description.

How does one expect a young person to not feel lost? Well, I believe that we can navigate the situation at hand if we think about the following things.

When You Need Job Ex To Get Your First Job

One of the most frustrating aspects of applying to your first job/internship is that while you are seeking your first experience, they want someone with prior experience. I have encountered this so many times.

 Let me tell you about the time I saw an ad about hiring new writers. It read: “We welcome young adults with a penchant for writing.” Cut to the next paragraph telling you that you must have a work experience of two years. Naturally, I didn’t apply. 

Representational image. Credit: quora.com

But, this gap between the hirer and the hiree, is what prevents either of them from getting what they want.

The former loses out on a potential employee who needs the space to prove themselves. The latter avoids applying because they believe that they don’t have a major requirement, even though they have the required skill set.

To tackle this, I try to include all that I would otherwise think is unimportant. Consider personal hobbies, extracurricular interests, volunteering, part-time work, and all the knowledge acquired during one’s education.

You can include skills you think an employer could use, such as research and planning, proficiency in computer applications etc.

Yes, Some Money Would Be Nice… Thank You! 

While today internships and fellowships do help in providing “invaluable experience”, many do not pay those involved in them.

There is a rising curiosity regarding why organisations are asking young people to work for 6-8 hours a day, only to not compensate them in return. If you do come across the mythical unicorn that is a paid opportunity, the competition is steep.

They generally list stipends in the range of ₹1,000-₹5,000/month. This means that they get to pay you based on their evaluation of your effort. Whether it’s fair or not, we can’t expect a neat compromise here.

There is the odd employer who provides you some room to negotiate. But, how exactly does one do that without any prior experience?

How To Negotiate Your First Salary

If you have a strong reason to believe you deserve more than what is being offered, don’t hesitate to ask for it. But, ensure you are well-prepared when you sit down to negotiate.

Make them account for the time you will spend working and the time you will have to spend travelling to work (if at all). Make them aware of your skill-set, competence and all that you bring to the table.

Not being able to justify yourself could provide a strong reason to your employer to withdraw the offer. See that you base your arguments on solid facts rather than any kind of sophistry or sentimentalism.

Representational Image. Credit: Pixabay

Find out the average salary for your position by consulting an online database, or approaching your college placement cell/school’s career counsellor.

You can also try to reach out to others who are working in the field to see how much they are being paid. This should give you a good idea of what to ask for. Secondly, try and ascertain the challenges that your hiring manager faces, and how you can help them solve those issues.

You might have skills to offer that other employees do not have. Apart from this, you can show that you are capable enough to take up other responsibilities if need be. These are some strategies to make your case for a higher salary stronger. 

Alternatively, you can try to negotiate for a lesser number of working hours based on the salary/stipend the potential employer is offering you.

Warding Off Weird Questions

Various instances have been noted with regards to interviewers asking questions, which have no place in the context of the job. While most such questions are faced by all interviewees, there are certain questions which appear to be reserved for women.

These include questions like: “Are you married? Do you plan to have children? How do you plan to balance work and family?”  

Many a woman has wondered why her personal life becomes the subject of scrutiny in a professional setting. Representational image. Photo credit: PixaHive.

Apart from such targeted questions, researches have also shown that women are asked certain questions to prove their worth. According to an American, binaried survey of 2,000 respondents, there are 12 questions women get asked more than men. Some of them include;

Nearly half (45%) of all women were asked the question, “Why should we hire you?”, compared to just 37% of men. The women who were surveyed were asked to describe where they see themselves in five years more than the men who were surveyed.

Blue indicates men and orange indicates women. Credit: Resume.io

Interestingly, the two questions men were asked the least were, “What is your greatest weakness?” (27% men compared to 37% women); and…

Blue indicates men and orange indicates women. Credit: Resume.io

“Describe a time when you failed and how you handled it,” (20% men compared to 26% women).

Blue indicates men and orange indicates women. Credit: Resume.io

Rachel Ritlop, a career and business coach, says that oftentimes answering a question with a question is the easiest way to subtly remind your interviewer that their question is not okay.

“If someone feels uncomfortable, they should advocate for themselves, and redirect the conversation by saying things like, ‘Before I answer, how would that information help you in the hiring process?’” said Ritlop.

It’s a good idea to rehearse thwarting off intrusive questions with a friend or a family member in a safe space first, so that one feels more confident to assert themselves in an interview setting later.

Rejection Does NOT Define You 

A recurring ordeal that you might face will be rejection. Applying and then also securing a job on the first try can be difficult. The same can be said for the second and third tries.

However, it’s important that one is mindful about not letting insecurity overwhelm them from within.

Remember to always follow up on a rejection and ask for feedback. Learning what you could have done better can help you. See what you can improve on and fine-tune those aspects, before turning in your next application. 

Representational image. Photo credit: realwealthbusiness.com

Work on yourself and pick up new skills and traits as and when possible. The job market IS a brutal place. One, because there are people who might be as good at something as you are. Two, because at any point, another person may have more to offer than you do.

Therefore, as cliche as it might sound, adding to your arsenal positively affects your chances. 

The job/internship industry won’t change in a day. Hopefully, it will transform for the better, bit by bit. Until then, we can try to adapt at our own pace and learn to navigate it as first-timers. 

Featured image is for representational purposes only. Photo credit: UTV Motion Pictures.

Note: The author is part of the Sept-Oct ’21 batch of the Writer’s Training Program

You must be to comment.

More from Yash C

Similar Posts

By Niti Kumar

By Neha Yadav

By India Development Review (IDR)

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below