1. Plan your search. Be honest with yourself but ready for opportunities.
When booking a ride, you start with your destination, right? Same with a job search. Before you begin, answer two questions: what is truly important to me, and what strengths can I offer to get it?
Your values. Do you need to stay near your family daily? Then you may want to not consider options overseas. Does a set routine sound organized – or boring? Do you need to earn a certain amount to meet financial obligations? Make your own list of what you can compromise on and what you cannot. We all adjust day-to-day, but our deep values rarely change. Focusing on jobs that align with them will make choices about your career path and future easier.
Your value to employers. Why should anyone hire you? Make sure your resumes (yes, more than one) answer that clearly and convincingly. You need a different resume for each industry, company and maybe even job, depending on the role you want. Start with your core achievements, and customize for each before sending it out.
What’s the difference between a good fresh grad resume and a good cover letter? Find out – and do them both right with these downloadable templates.
2. Master your soft skills.
When hiring new grads, many potential employers place a high value on soft skills. As a beginner, you have lots to learn – but you should already be able to communicate well, be part of a team, and have a positive attitude.
Soft skills tell employers whether you’ll fit into their corporate culture before they invest time and effort to train you. Hone your soft skills now – as best displayed in a job interview – and you’ll be a step ahead of other fresh grads.
In any industry, communication is key. When you speak and write clearly, you’re perceived as smart and efficient. People want to work with you. If you know how to explain ideas quickly, you’re an asset in time-pressed meetings with higher-ups and clients. Prove your communication skills in your cover letter and resume, starting with the templates above.
Teamwork is being able to work with others to reach a shared goal. Employers want new hires who can blend with the group right away, build work relationships, and contribute while also taking direction. Teamwork also builds lasting friendships and professional networks. How can you practice without a job? Get the gang together and plan a trip as a team, dividing up responsibilities. Be ready to lend a hand, while making sure you’re doing your part.
Recruiters also look for a positive attitude. Show that you’re flexible, ready to learn and that you don’t give up easily. No job is perfect, and workplaces need people who can find the upside and help others see it too.
Practice makes perfect. Try our Interview Practice Tool!
3. Think like an entrepreneur, with your talent and skills as your product.
Innovation is important to all companies today. Show you can think outside the box, solve everyday problems, and handle multiple responsibilities. From the huge pool of applicants, employers want to hire people who can immediately help their businesses grow.
4. Do your research.
When looking for a job, show your interest by doing research about the job and industry. What do entry-level jobs require? How is the industry coping with current events? What are the exciting developments, and their biggest problems?
This will give you a realistic picture and help you manage expectations. You may also discover uses for your other skill sets. For example, marketing jobs are not just about your creative and social skills. Data analysis and interpretation play a huge role, so your math skill set is worth talking about.
Where to start? Go online. Search for a direct description, or look at a similar job in another company. Assuming you have the minimum required degree or skills, what areas can you improve?
For salaries, ask family and friends in similar industries, and check online groups. You don’t want to under- or over price yourself. Start now with our Salary Guide.
Knowledge is power. Armed with research, you’ll know much more about how to position yourself as a great hire in your resume and interview.
5. Widen your circle.
One of the best job-hunting strategies is to maximize your network. Tell family, friends and school connections that you’re looking, then expand outward. You’ll be surprised that friends’ parents, neighbors and churchmates can refer you to people, companies, or industries you never even thought of.
Attend career fairs and job expos before graduation. Don’t be shy – recruiters are there to answer your questions and spot the best talent in your school or training institution. Some events have resume clinics or practice interviews where you can get honest feedback. You can get your resume to new industries and companies, and get a real-world feel of the industry you want to join.
Job boards can help narrow your search. Here on JobStreet you’ll find open jobs in different categories that may suit you. You will also be directed to related categories, so take a few minutes to look around – you never know!
Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you. What’s important is to search both smartly and efficiently by using all your available resources.