The process of starting your career can be quite challenging. If, like many other graduates, you’ve spent most of your life in education, it can be daunting coming out of university and being expected to seamlessly transition into the world of work. There’s no set way to secure your first job but there are things you can do to make it a little easier.
Find out what sets you apart
According to Gradguide the number of students in higher education has increased by over 17% in the past six years. Additionally, more students are landing a first-class degree, so the pool of candidates applying for entry level roles is becoming increasingly competitive. Hiring managers can receive hundreds of CVs from qualified candidates for each job, so you need to ensure you stand out from the crowd.
Things you can do to differentiate yourself:
- Tailor your CV for each application to match the role, industry, and company
- Include your hobbies on your CV
- Ask a friend to read over your CV/ cover letter to make sure there are no spelling errors
- If you secure an interview, email your interviewer afterwards to express gratitude and interest
- Identify and bring up a common ground you have with the interviewer, maybe you went to the same university
Sharpen soft skills
While hard skills refer to technical job-related knowledge, Soft skills, on the other hand, are the personal qualities that can really help you thrive in the workplace.
Examples of soft skills:
- Emotional intelligence
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Team player
Nowadays soft skills are more important than ever, so while you might have the technical skills for the job, you may want to think about which interpersonal skills you can work on. It’s often harder to measure soft skills so it’s important to listen to feedback.
Think individually about each of the soft skills listed above and identify which of these you do well, and which could be areas for improvement based off your past experiences. From here, you can start filling in these gaps by taking courses or training to improve.
Grow your personal brand
Social media is now a huge part of our lives, often companies will do background checks online so it’s important to make sure all your information is updated. Social media is also a great tool to network and build relationships that you may not have otherwise been able to establish. LinkedIn is the most obvious resource you can use to expand your network, but building an online presence isn’t limited to one platform. While LinkedIn is a great platform for some industries, such as banking, if you are interested in something more creative a more appropriate platform could be TikTok. Spend time growing your personal brand and online presence by discussing topics online related to your chosen industry, your content will start to gain traction by people in the industry who relate to it or find it insightful. You may be surprised by the opportunities that could come around by doing this.
Unless you are extremely lucky, it’s unlikely that you will land your dream job straight out of university. If you’re contacted about a role, try to be as open minded as possible, of course if it really isn’t for you then continue your search elsewhere, but it could be a great intermediate platform for another role. Figure out how you can add value and create transferable skills e.g. by reading, taking courses, watching videos. Once you have your foot in the door, it’s much easier to do a sideways or even an upwards move! Remember to be flexible and have patience.
Hopefully you found these tips useful and are now fully equipped with all the knowledge to secure your first job. If you still aren’t sure on what career path to go down, why not consider a career in recruitment?
If you’d like to learn more about careers at JCW Group, check out our careers page.