Job-Hunting Tips for New Graduates
Graduating from university is undoubtedly a huge achievement. However, this milestone also often comes with a mixed bag of emotions- Congratulations, you graduated! Now what? What next? On one hand, you are extremely excited to close this chapter and move on to the next in the “real world”. But on the other hand, you know this major change comes with a lot of uncertainty- and with that, anxiety.
Starting your job search can be daunting and stepping into the “real world” means you have to go through transition into a new space and with this transition comes the aspect of competition for jobs in the market.
Below are some tips to help with your job hunt and make yourself stand out to potential employers :
Be more intentional with your job search
A little leg work is needed to set you on the right path. It is tempting to sit back and relax, especially after all the studying. However, use the momentum you are on to fast-track the job-hunting process as much as possible. Spend the hours you would have spent studying to work on your job search- updating your CV, researching your preferred role and specific companies, applying to job opportunities, networking with people, etc. This will keep you focused and informed when the offers finally land. Additionally, do not delay your job search, the most crucial job hunt advice for new graduates is to start early. If as a soon-to-be graduate you are just starting your job search, you are already behind.
Work on your qualifications: skills, knowledge, and experience
Be open to a wide range of opportunities, but keep your search targeted around your skills, knowledge, and experience. Resist the urge to apply for roles that are not a fit or to multiple roles at different levels of the same company. Instead, target your search, and be prepared to articulate why you are a good fit based on the skills you have. Look up the qualifications required for your ideal job or read up on the skills companies are looking for and see how you line up. If a job does not exactly fit your training or degree, think about how your skills match up. Just because your degree does not perfectly align with a growing industry or job title, that does not mean you are not a good applicant. Skills are transferable. On top of that, if you need to brush up on any in-demand skills there are free courses online. LinkedIn also has learning courses that can help you get started.
Be aware of what is going on in the market : trends, openings and salary levels
When a company has several job postings, that means they are looking to bring on several new team members. This is a good thing for candidates because it equates to company growth and if you are not fit for one job, they may recommend that you apply for another. In addition, by exploring salary trends, you will not only refine your vision for the career ahead of you, but you will also set expectations for entry-level positions. It’s also important to take note of which entry-level job titles are more prosperous.
Let us talk about LinkedIn
It is no secret that LinkedIn is the top professional social networking site. Therefore, it is very crucial to have a relevant LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is more important than the CV. 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their candidate search. As a recent graduate, it is a good place to start networking and find job opportunities. Here are some tactical tips on how you can leverage LinkedIn to its fullest to expand your professional network and find a great job opportunity to get your career started:
- Keep your profile up to date. Also, update your headline
- Be comprehensive about current skills and objectives
- Highlight any experience you may have
- Research the companies you are interested in and follow them
- Build your network to the first degree
- Look for alumni associated with your university
All you need to know- CV and cover letter
When it comes to your CV, it should be short, simplified, and well-formatted. It should also highlight the relevant skills and qualifications. It is critical that you customize your CV as appropriate- match your CV to the company job description and emphasize on relevant accomplishments. Additionally, if you want to stand out, create job and company-specific cover letters. Cover letters are a great way to show off your personality and anything that is not on your CV. Your cover letter can help you express your passion for a company’s mission or explain any employment gaps in your CV.
Clean up your online presence
Recent graduates should keep in mind that during the hiring process, hiring managers could possibly search for a candidate’s profile. The best personal brands include a professional and appropriate online presence. If you are serious about starting a professional career, consider the prospect of every post you have ever shared being monitored. Of course, you can make your accounts private, but the internet has a funny way of catching up with people. So, if there is a post you would rather not have to explain to a recruiter in the future, press delete now.
How do I build a professional network?, you may ask. You are more connected than you think. New graduates and current students often have a wider network than they think- this includes: fellow classmates, friends, former coaches and professors, and old coworkers from campus jobs. To add to that, university students should begin building their networks as early as the first year by attending club events, networking with faculty members, securing leadership roles within campus organizations, and lining up internships. Furthermore, do not forget about the “hidden” job market. Studies find that you are 10 times more likely to land a job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral. However, you can not get those coveted references without networking. Make it your mission to become an active networker. Be connected, Get connected and Stay connected.
Connect with your University
Connect with your university and let them know you are actively job hunting. They may offer leads or have a job on campus. Many universities also have partnerships with businesses to help top students get job placements.
Article by Michelle Nthemba
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