When you first graduate, you feel ready to take the world by storm! Full of knowledge, ideas and excitement, who wouldn’t want to hire you?
The reality is that getting your first job after graduation can be challenging. Even if you’ve done everything right – received good marks, created a professional resume, even cleaned up your online image – it can be difficult to land that first job. You can’t gain experience without a job, but the jobs you want all require experience. The following suggestions can help you find a great job and launch your new career.
Networking- The majority of people found their current position not by randomly applying for jobs online, but by talking to the right person. When you are searching for a job, it is more important than ever to talk with as many people as possible in your industry. You never know when you will start up a conversation with someone who knows about a job opportunity that is perfect for you.
Networking is really just about meeting people and letting them know who you are. It can be formal or informal, large groups or one on one, so it is okay to fit your networking strategies to your personality. If you need ideas about where to network, look for social events, fundraisers, parent groups, conferences, churches, or even Facebook groups.
Volunteer- The hardest part of getting hired without experience may be finding someone who will give you a chance. Getting your foot in the door and networking can both be achieved through volunteering.
Volunteering doesn’t mean doing a job for free. It means finding a way to contribute to an organisation that is beneficial to both parties. One way to learn about volunteer opportunities is to look for any upcoming events or initiatives in a company you’d like to work for. The annual fundraising dinner is next week? See if they need volunteer greeters. A conference is coming up? See if you can help with the website or online registration. Volunteering gives you valuable experience, helps you discover what you like and don’t like about various work environments, and provides opportunities to network with other professionals.
Be Positive- Sometimes finding a great job comes down to luck. A chance encounter with the right person at the right time, or an entry level opening at the company you’ve been hoping to work for. And sometimes, you haven’t found a job yet not because of anything you’ve done wrong, but from bad luck.
It is important to stay positive, even if you are feeling disappointment. Don’t let your job search become all consuming. Continue to make time for friends, family, and activities that you enjoy. Isolating yourself is the worst thing that you can do while looking for a job, as it will lessen your ability to network or have that chance encounter that leads to a job offer.
It is also important to stay positive when talking to your network about your job search. While it is ok (and something cathartic) to vent your frustrations with close friends and family, be sure that this negativity is not shared widely. Negativity is a turn-off, and potential employers look for confident, positive attitudes in their new hires.
Create Your Own Experience– In today’s gig economy, creating your own work is becoming commonplace. It is no longer necessary to wait until you are hired by a large organisation to start gaining experience. In fact, if you think about it, you probably have a lot more experience than you think.
Experience is not limited to paid employment in your career field. Internships, volunteering, even old babysitting jobs required a set of skills. Look beyond traditional employment both in explaining past experience and in gaining new experience. Part time work, freelancing, consulting, and temp work are all valuable resume and skill building opportunities.
Looking for more tips about job searching and your new career? Read IKON’s Career Corner blogs…