When you’ve packed your room, grabbed your diploma, thrown your cap high in the air and you’ve had the last shots with college friends, reality begins to set in. Summer break is no longer a break—now you’re an adult, and it’s time to find a job. Sure, finding a job is a challenge. But there are a few things you can do to get a leg up on all your fellow classmates who are now your competition. So have a read of these 5 job hunting tips to help you land your first job.
5.) Start Small
After all the speeches and well wishes at graduation, you think you’re going to take over the world, right? Sometimes it helps to think a little smaller. You may have a picture of your ideal starting position, but don’t ignore opportunities further down the ladder. Even though you’re no longer a student, you can still take an internship, or a basic office position, to get your foot in the door at a company you really like. It’s also a good idea to look outside your desired field. Even a customer-service position can give you valuable time-management and communication skills that are useful in many other occupations.
Internships can be the perfect way into your chosen industry. Behave well, be enthusiastic and go above and beyond their expectations. This should guarantee you a fantastic reference for when you apply for a job or even allow you to progress to a position within the company of the internship. During internships, you either work for free or a very low wage so make sure that the company knows that you don’t see this as long-term by regularly asking about potential vacancies.
4.) Make an Appearance
So much of job hunting is done online these days, but there’s a lot to be said for appearing in the flesh. You don’t want to hound an executive with visits and phone calls, but you can keep tabs on whether the company offers seminars or hosts public receptions you can attend.
And if your chosen career has any professional associations or groups in your area, don’t be shy about joining them or going to their social events. Even if you’re not yet employed there, showing up and talking to your industry’s leaders brands you as a go-getter. Making conversation with the right people and leaving a good impression along with contact details, will help them to remember you and potentially call you with good news, a job vacancy.
If you think back to the last time you received a form letter and thought “Wow, they couldn’t even be bothered to write something specifically for me,” then you know how potential employers feel when they receive a resume and cover letter that are clearly generic and not targeted towards them in any way.
Take a cue from online advertising designed to appeal to your interests based on your browsing history. Target your resume to highlight skills particularly relevant to each job and use your cover letter to explain why you’re interested in that particular company and how you could help them within the position they’ve offered. Tailor the application so that it mentions the individual job specifications and values of the company. Writing a general, vague covering letter is just asking for the manager to disregard your application.
The saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is very true. Never underestimate the power of networking-it may be the most important of all the job hunting tips. You may think you don’t know anybody who can help you, but you never know until you ask. Talk to extended family members and long-time family friends. They may be able to put you in touch with someone in your preferred field. If you can pick up some work experience from one of the contacts or even an update when a potential position comes up, it’ll definitely be worth it.
Your former professors probably know of alumni who can help get you started and provide professional advice and connections. But don’t just talk to older people—even your classmates may have a connection or two as a result of an internship or a missed opportunity.
1.) Clean Up
Before you send out the first resume or shake the first hand, make sure your public image is a professional, responsible one. Just as you do online research on a company when deciding whether to apply, that company will research you before they call you up.
Have a think about your online profile and whether it’s giving the best impression of you to potential graduate employers. In recent year companies are increasingly using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. So take down that picture on Facebook of you doing a keg stand during spring break, and record a basic, professional voicemail greeting for your phone. Since a lot of contact with potential employers is done through email, make sure your email address is both simple and professional.
Using these job hunting tips can help you get a foot in the door and hopefully, you land a job you actually want. Job hunting after graduation is a tough job in itself so don’t feel disheartened if you receive rejection and it takes a while to land your first job. With a positive attitude, determination and patience, you’ll make it through the job searching period.
For more career help for all you graduates, check these articles out: Top 5 Employment Search Engines, Top 5 Things Not to Say in a Job Interview and 5 Things You Should Not Say in Your Job Interview.