Graduation is a time to celebrate, but also a time of uncertainty for new graduates anticipating their future and looking for their first job. For your average employee, landing a job is already no walk in the park. Consider how much more challenging it is for fresh-out graduates who have little to no experience on their resumes? In their case, it’s easy to be left behind, dwarfed by the competition from experienced job seekers.
Fortunately, there are still ways for new grads to increase the chances of landing a first job they’d prefer. Follow the tips below, and ready yourself to enter the workplace.
Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or Resume
Here’s how you can write an effective CV:
- Make sure to include the basics – Personal and contact information, education and qualifications, work history and experience (if you already have some), relevant interests and hobbies, and references.
- Be clear and concise – As much as you can, always keep your CV short yet relevant. Research shows that “a short and concise CV that is no longer than one page is the preferred format for the majority of employers (42.5%).”
- Customize your CV for a specific job – Generalized CVs typically won’t get you the interview. Upon identifying a great job that you feel confident and qualified to apply for, construct a CV specifically for that position playing up how you can meet the requirements.
- Ensure that your CV is free of errors – A survey shows that 59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error. Furthermore, before sending it, check your CV over a few times to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
Being a new graduate, the research skills you developed in college will be vital to your job search. Researching the industry you want to go into is something that will greatly benefit you. Reflect on your motivation for seeking a specific career path and your long-term view of the industry and your goals. Modify your cover letter to incorporate relevant research you’ve done to show that you’re the ideal candidate. Never arrive at an interview without looking first into the company’s history, what it is they actually do, and the image they are trying to project.
Often it’s about who you know and leveraging your connections to an advantage. Make use of Twitter and LinkedIn to demonstrate your interests and begin discussions about them. An ever-increasing number of recruiters and/or hiring managers are turning in to social media to find prospective employees. You never know who you may meet and what you may get into. Also, you might meet someone via social media in your industry that may offer some priceless tips on how to land a first job in that field.
Use social media to stay up on the latest industry news, and don’t post anything that may be off-putting to a future employer since they may well look you up online before offering an interview for a job. Keep your abilities and experiences up to date on your LinkedIn profile.
Many of us have been there, working our hearts out at an unpaid internship, long days and small jobs that no one else wants to do (all in the hopes the company will offer us something more secure at the end of it). But take advantage of your university’s link to valuable internships in your city relevant to your industry of choice. Even if the company at which you intern cannot offer you a full time position upon completion of the internship, you can make some valuable connections during this time—especially if you show initiative and do outstanding work during your time at the company.
As long as you keep your head in the game, you will be fine in your first job search. Know that a lot of the best roles may mean moving from where you to a different city or state, but keep in mind that the first job you’ll have doesn’t mean it’s for life. Many things can still happen and can lead you somewhere else, so don’t be afraid to face change. Like your post-graduation transition, use change as an opportunity to accomplish further achievements.
Once you land your first job, stick with the experience. Go into your new role willing to listen and learn, even if you find yourself doing tasks that don’t seem to utilize your degree. You never know the positive outcomes that any one role will lead to. Learning continues even after schooling.
About the Author: Michelle Dutcher is a social media manager with four years of related experience based in Quebec City, Canada. She furnishes quality content for her clients’ social media platforms to better engage their consumers. Michelle loves challenges and setbacks, using them to further fuel her drive. During her down time, she serves as an essayist for paperchoice.org.
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Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow (kurtkirton.com/hthtbook), and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.