Entering the job market, graduates will quickly learn that finding suitable employment is quite a challenge. But just because our economies are recovering from recession doesn’t mean that there are no interesting opportunities out there to pursue. You just need to know where to look. Here are 5 key things you should know before searching for your very first job.
A second degree won’t bring you a better job
Many graduates consider getting another degree to wait out the recession and eventually become more competitive candidates on the job market. While a second degree might be enriching, it won’t improve your chances at getting the job right now. Postgraduate courses are expensive and often of little interest to employers.
Candidates boasting postgraduate education shouldn’t expect higher salaries either – especially not at the entry level. While you’re taking a postgraduate course, your peers will be already gaining professional experience – and you’ll have to compete with the next bunch of graduates anyway.
Choose the right industry
Some candidates believe that all it takes is a lot of willpower and hard work to arrive at their professional goal. Sadly, there’s also the economic reality which should be taken into account here. Recent changes in technology have turned many industries upside down – consider book publishing, print journalism or the music industry.
Your dream job might not even exist in a couple of years. Before setting out on the job hunt, graduates should perform a thorough research to learn about their industry. If people established in your sector are moving away from it, it’s a sign that you should also take your skills to another industry – one that is bound to grow.
The perfect CV doesn’t exist
Many graduates spend hours crafting what they believe to be a perfect resume, forgetting that it’s a pure myth. Don’t try to make yourself stand out or fiddle with a clear and concise presentation. You should modify your resume for every job you apply, preferably listing skills and qualifications which are mentioned in the job posting.
Have a look at any job posting website – for instance Gumtree. After browsing a large number of postings for a given position, like Junior PR Manager, you’ll get the idea about what kind of professional profile recruiters are looking for.
Track your online footprint
Graduates often forget that recruiters are big fans of digital technologies and use many channels to learn more about candidates. Google yourself and analyze the search results – what kind of profile emerges from them? Adjust your privacy settings on Facebook and have a good look at your other social media profiles. Remove any embarrassing photos or status updates from sight.
Your next step should be setting up a great LinkedIn profile. Fill it out with exhaustive information, choose a photo to represent you and remember to keep your profile up to date with skills and training. Join groups relevant to your sector to keep tabs on what’s happening.
If your strategy isn’t working, change it
One of the biggest mistakes graduates make is sticking to one job-hunting strategy and complaining it doesn’t work. ‘I’ve sent 500 CV and got no reply’ – how often have you heard this line? If your first 50 applications turn out to bring you no benefits (like a job interview), it’s time to reassess your strategy and perhaps develop a different approach.
Every industry is different when it comes to hiring – while in some networking is your best choice, others require a formal and structured application procedure. In many sectors it’s all about grabbing the best opportunities out there through contacts. Don’t be afraid to change your job-hunting strategy – after all, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Today’s economy doesn’t make it easy for graduates to land their dream job, but a smart strategy is the single thing that can get them closer to it.
Cindy Boesel is part of the team behind BizStats.co.uk. She is interested in startup trends and the ways mobile is changing business globally.