Landing you first job after campus is one of the few things that we dread the most. It is like walking down a dark alley hoping to emerge the other end safe and sound but unsure of what awaits you. Therefore, it is always good to prepare for that time. To be ready even before the time to start job seeking comes. Here are some tips that will definitely help you:
1. Optimize LinkedIn Profile
In a world where a massive 89 percent of all recruitershave hired someone through LinkedIn and where 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn for recruiting, you can appreciate the importance of this platform. Unfortunately, only 36 percent of candidates are active on LinkedIn. Therefore, you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile to benefit from the increasing presence of recruiters on the platform. Get your photo right and your job title headline right. Also, develop a creative bio which you can put in the summary section and add the skills you have. Seek for endorsement from your lecturers, supervisors and anyone who get to work with. It helps but big time.
2. Keep your Resume Updated
The professional world is highly competitive today and if you get to ask any HR practitioner, you are highly likely to sympathize with their work trying to go through a zillion applications for a single vacancy at their organizations. As such, most of them are now turning to application tracking software (ATS) to help sort out resumes from applicants. This is a challenge to job seekers and you now have to ensure that your resume is as ATS-friendly as possible. Ensure that you clearly showcase hard and transferable skills in Core Competencies and Achievements section. Career Consultant Kirsty Bonner says that at this point “Boring is safe.”
3. Optimize Search for First Job
Do not depend on your LinkedIn profile alone or your application letters alone for your job search initiatives. Remember, there are several thousands of graduates just like you looking for similar positions while the vacancies are very limited. Therefore, optimize your job search by using recruiters, job sites, in person and online networking. Let former colleagues, friends and family know you are looking for a new role. This will increase your chances by tenfold. However, do not sound desperate in your search because you will open yourself to abuse by opportunists. Also, while using recruiters, read the fine print of your engagement contract lest you lose your first month’s salary to them.
4. Tailor-make your Cover Email
There is always that tendency to submit 300 job application emails in a span of 3 days when we become desperate for a job. However, we make the mistake of using the same cover email or a generic one that was recommended over the internet for all the 300 applications. This mistake could cost you an opportunity because you will end up failing to highlight specific skills that are needed for a specific job. It is therefore advisable to use a tailored cover email when making these applications. This shows just how dedicated you are and demonstrates to whoever will be reading your cover email that you took your time to go through the job description and linked your core skills to what is needed.
A college degree is good but it is not everything. Having a first class will get your foot in the door but it is only your hands-on skills that will earn you a seat at the table. Therefore, take your time on college and immediately after graduation to upskill. The good thing is that there are different platforms that offer upskilling opportunities, some even for free. Check out LinkedIn Learning, Teachable, Udemy, Coursera and Code Academy among others. Also, use this time to volunteer and get practical and interpersonal skills that will make you stand out from the rest.
6. Prepare for your First Job Interview
Once you get that call for the interview, you need to not only prepare an amazing outfit and make your hair but you also need to prepare for the actual interview. Take your time to research companies, practice standard and behavioural questions with a friend. You reap what you sow in Life. Invest time in yourself and your future and don’t let all your amazing qualifications, skills and experience go to waste!