Tips for First-Time Job Seekers
Graduating from high school or college is a huge milestone. It opens up a new phase of endless opportunities in the job market. You are finally ready to put all the knowledge you’ve gained to work, to help you find the right job.
Despite the excitement, navigating the job market isn’t easy, and you can be overwhelmed if you don’t have a strategy. So, it would certainly help if you are determined to seek out your first ideal job, apply for it and be successful in getting it.
This article outlines seven tips to help you jump-start your career. If implemented, your first job hunt doesn’t have to be frustrating.
1. START YOUR JOB SEARCH EARLY
One mistake most first-time job-seekers do is to wait until after graduation to seek employment. Those who were part of this group regretted it big time. Let’s save you the agony they went through by pointing you in the right direction.
Depending on your industry, you must start your job hunt a month or two before graduation. You can start by seeking referrals among your professors, college staff, or family members. Inquire if there are openings in your industry where they can refer you to.
Another important thing to consider is the career fairs in your college. These on-campus recruitment opportunities may save you the agony of sending countless applications once you graduate. So, take the college job fair seriously and put your best foot forward.
2. PREPARE YOUR CV
Writing a CV is the most challenging task for a first-time job seeker. Often you are torn between including too much or too little information. The rule of thumb is to ensure your CV is straightforward and concise. Your resume is your first interaction with the hiring team. You must stand out from other applicants.
A good CV must include your personal information, educational background, work experience, achievements, and references. Remember, you must rewrite your CV for each job application to ensure it aligns with the job description of the position you are applying for.
Most online job application portals use a tracking system that weeds out applications that don’t match a position’s job description.
The trick to passing this preliminary stage is to ensure you include the keywords and terminology the company used in the job description in your CV and cover letter. For example, if you are in the fitness industry, your bio on the resume should include personal trainer info that aligns with the job requirement.
If you find it hard to write a CV, different agencies can help you create a professional one. Find an agency and get a standard copy.
Lastly, proofread your CV to ensure the design is on point, and there are no typos or grammatical errors.
3. GAIN EXPERIANCE
If you are new in the job industry, you will soon see that the number of companies looking for candidates with years of experience is heart breaking, especially for many graduates who often find it hard to find the job they really want to do.
But don’t be discouraged, dig into your school life, and outline the experience you gained as an intern or a volunteer. Further, if you were proactive in campus and did data entry, community work, or designed a website, you must include these in your resume.
Also comb through the job description and use its terminology to describe your experience.
Do not limit yourself to a 9-5 job. Explore the possibilities of remote work, freelancing, or online work. You can also think of part-time jobs. All these will go into your resume as work experience.
4. TARGET YOUR APPLICATION
As it is, job hunting is frustrating. Don’t complicate it further by applying for any opportunity that comes your way. It might seem like you are increasing your chances of landing a job, but in reality, you are reducing the chances of getting the job you truly deserve.
Stay focused and consistent, applying for jobs that fit your educational background and work experience.
Check online for companies in your industry that are employing. Next, compile a list of the companies you’ll reach out to. Finally, check the job description of the entry-level opportunities before applying.
5. BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Networking is important as a first-time job seeker. Your immediate contacts are the college staff members, your favourite lecturer, or a mentor. Through these people, you can get a recommendation or referral for a job opening.
You can also establish networks through LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a huge pool of professionals in different industries. All you need to do set up your profile and reach out to individuals in your industry.
You should also be sure to attend any networking events in your chosen industry. It’s easy to find out online if they are any suitable networking events you can attend in your town or city. In these events, interact with others, ask questions, and take business cards.
6. PREPARE FOR INTERVIEW
As a first-time job seeker, you might not be sure of what to expect in an interview. The only way to boost your confidence is through practice. It would be best if you searched online for sample interview questions.
Go through these questions, outlining your answers. Do a mock interview in front of the mirror, or let a friend or family member help you prepare. The more you practice, the more you increase your confidence.
Search for your chosen company online and read through their website to understand who they are and what they do. Beyond your qualifications, the hiring manager will want to know if you are passionate about the company.
7. FOLLOW UP
Once you’ve done well at the interview, wait for the company’s feedback. If you don’t hear from them in two weeks, you can do a follow-up either in person or by email.
Following up is important because you get to know if you have been successful. If you don’t make it, do not lose hope. Keep applying for other jobs. It is estimated that most first-time job seekers take up to six months to secure a job.
Your social media accounts can either make or break your job hunt efforts. Some companies will check your social media accounts to see the kind of person that you are.
So, be sure to delete any inappropriate pictures or unpleasant posts in your account. You can also change your social media profile settings to private or view with connections only.