Recent graduate just entering the graduate recruitment market? If yes, then searching for a job can be both time consuming and tedious, especially if you don’t know where to begin. So here are a few essential job search tips to help you get a job right after university.
Job search tip 1: Decide on your career direction then put a plan in action
Most of us look up to others, such as our teachers, older siblings or peers, parents, relatives, and neighbours to determine our career paths. We talk to people we know and respect to find out what they do for work and this is a great way to find out about career paths. If we don’t know of anyone in the career area we’re interested in then finding out is going to take time. Perservere – it’s well worth it. Give yourself plenty of options; at least at first, go wide not deep. Do not rush to conclusions, instead take your time in mapping out your wants. Match your skills with the skills which are vigorously sought after within the fields of employment that you wish to enter into.
Job search tip 2: Make sure your CV is in top shape
Your next and most important step to land a good job is to make sure your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is in top shape. It is important that you:
- Create a CV that includes general details relating to your educational background, awards and accomplishments, internship details, and other experience from community/volunteer work, etc;
- Create a custom CV that is specific to each job you wish to apply for;
- Read your CV several times to check for grammatical or spelling errors. You could get someone else to read it, too;
- Include accurate and updated contact information (email, physical address and mobile number/landline);
- Include relevant references (professors whom you studied under and/or managers/peers whom you worked with during your Internship);
- Do not forget to include the details of clubs or groups you were involved in, especially one where you had taken up a leadership role;
Always take a backup of your general and custom-made CV on your desktop/laptop. Other useful things to keep handy include:
- Details of references
- Samples of your work
- University transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
Job search tip 3: Do your research and set up your online profile
Building a list of connections will help you put your plan into action. Your first step here will be to conduct a thorough research and join relevant online communities. Create an online profile on LinkedIn, the most preferred professional community, by filling in details relating to your educational background, awards and accomplishments, a summary of your skills and interest and what are you looking for, in terms of your career or job of interest, community/volunteer work you were involved in, etc. Most people have their LinkedIn profiles with multiple contacts and are highly active on it. Start building your list of connections by connecting with relevant people who share similar interests and skills to you. Having your LinkedIn profile up online means your profile searchable by most employers. Unlike Facebook, many employers make use of LinkedIn to search for relevant candidates/job profiles.
Job search tip 4: Network your way into the right role
Network with anyone and everyone you come in contact with. Never miss an opportunity. Find out if they are aware of any job leads, have contacts at the company you wish to work at, or can put you in touch with someone who can help you and, lastly, can keep you informed if they hear about any job leads. Networking is one of the most important and best ways of increasing your chances of getting a job. You can network with:
- Former/current professors
- Former/current classmates
- Family members, friends, and neighbours
- Supervisors/managers/peers you have worked with
- Volunteers you have previously worked with
- Fellow members of professional groups that you have joined
Job search tip 5: Negotiating your salary
Most new graduates are not sure if they are allowed to negotiate their salary with the hiring manager/recruiter. They understandably feel that since it is their first job they are not entitled to negotiate on salary, while others feel that every company has the candidate’s best interests in mind while making an offer, thus it is important to accept whatever they offer. Negotiating your salary is not at all wrong, if it is for the right reasons. Always be respectful while negotiating. Make the negotiation about what is fair in the market and not about what you need or want. Always conduct a thorough research to understand the job market before negotiating your salary.
Please remember to stay positive when searching for a job. Keep in mind that you have a unique set of gifts to offer and uniqueness is something that most employers look for in a candidate.