It’s that time of year when of you college graduates start job hunting, hopeful that your grades will allow you to get the job of your dreams. It can be really tough and you may worry that employers won’t be interested in you because you have a lack of work experience in your new field. However, you do have a lot going for you! You are well-educated, enthusiastic and you have demonstrated your ability to learn by successfully graduating college.
Now what? How do you get that job? Here are my five tips for job hunting:
You may be tempted to hold out until you find a position that has everything. But when it comes to your first position after college, don’t look for the perfect job – look for the right job for right now. Nothing is permanent. It helps release the pressure when you look at it that way.
I can hear you protesting that you want to love your job and yes, in an ideal world, we all want a job we love. However, think of it this way: You have enthusiasm and passion, but no experience. For an employer you are a good bet in that you don’t cost as much as more experienced applicants, but you are still a risk.
You need to test the job market. Our dream careers are rarely the ones we start with. Your first job is a steep learning curve and you have to negotiate the early mornings, the commute, the office politics.
Cut your teeth on a job in an area that interests you and in the industry you went to school for (or something similar), but don’t hold out for the “perfect” job.
Before you can get a job you have to nail down the interview. To get an interview you need to look like a serious contender.
Use the phone and talk to people; don’t text, even if the employer texts you.
If you get an email offering an interview respond promptly and politely. Also keep in mind that your email should look like a letter not a note dashed off to a friend. Use formal greetings and sign-offs (best regards, thank you), use your manners and refrain from using smiley faces and other emojis. How you communicate is as important when it’s written as when you are speaking.
If you can, set up face-to-face meetings rather than interview over the phone. You may get a screening call to see if they want to invite you to a face-to-face- so be careful how you answer the phone—with your name and a polite hello. It also might be time to change your voicemail greeting to something professional if you haven’t already.
An interview requires job-suitable clothing, whatever the post. So, dress smartly and polish your shoes. Make sure your hair is clean and remove any odd piercings that you know are not suitable for a conventional workplace.
Make sure you have all written communication at hand when you go for your interview, bring copies of your resume and references, if you have them.
Check out: 10 Tricks to Get Your Resume Noticed to get your resume in front of employers.
Before any interviews, or better yet, before even applying for a position, find out as much as possible about the potential employer and the job. Make notes and make sure you ask the interviewer about their company. Show you have read up about them and ask valid questions about the company at the end of the interview—it will impress them.
If possible, reach out to people you know to ask if they have information about the company.
Read their mission statement. Does it resonate with you? What is it about you that matches the company? If during the interview you can show that you have similar values, you are more likely to get the job. Plus, if you make reference to their values in your application you are more likely to get an interview.
Check out: 10 Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid for more tips on how to ace your interview.
So many people are incredibly connected on social media, but rarely reach out and get support from those in their social networks. People worry about offending or crossing an imaginary line about what’s appropriate. But I’ve seen many of my clients find their next job through social media. Now is the time to use it to your benefit because a huge percentage of jobs are not even advertised.
To find these hidden gems you need to let everyone know you are job hunting. This does not need to sound desperate. If you are very clear on your skills and qualities and what you can offer, you can ask the right questions when you meet people. You can private message on many social media sites or even put a thoughtful post that you are in job-hunting mode and would love some help connecting. Also, talk to your family, their friends, your friends and even neighbors. Do not dismiss the power of an introduction, it can get you in the door.
Before an employer asks you for an interview, a lot of them do a social media search of potential candidates. So, go and clean up your online presence. Set your Facebook profile to private, check your Twitter feed, take down that dumb video on YouTube of the college pranks that seemed so funny.
You don’t want some youthful indiscretion to be a road block on the path to your first job. Welcome to the world of the professional and happy job hunting!
Kathleen Murray is a career and life coach and an expert at guiding women (and some brave men) on the journey to living a fearless fulfilling life and loving Monday mornings! She can be found on Noomii and her website