Just starting your career? It’s tough out there. The job market’s competitive and first-jobbers need to make a big impression. If you’re wondering how to snag that dream position, check out these essential tips and get your foot in the door.
On the Radar
‘How do I get my first job?’ Well, before you get your foot in the door, knock on it: jump on the employment radar. Tell everyone, from recruitment agencies to friends and family, from teachers and lecturers to employers from part-time or Saturday jobs, that you’re job hunting. Don’t be shy.
Make new contacts on social media, join forums and start a blog to show off your ideas and initiative.
Keep it professional and invite everybody you know, or would like to work with, to follow your updates and support your career search. With an active following, and great content, prospective employers will be wowed.
Creativity is essential in today’s marketplace: employers are looking for innovation, flexibility and uniqueness. Take a creative approach to your website, CV, applications and covering letters; we’re not suggesting you bust out a show tune in your first job interview, but do approach presentations, tasks and interview questions in exciting, memorable ways.
Work Experience or Internships?
There’s a difference. Internships involve a specific role for a period of time and, if they value you and your potential, it may result in a paid position.
Work experience isn’t usually paid. It’s more of a taster, usually for a week or so, giving you the opportunity to see if that work area suits you and to network with new people.
Modern apprenticeships are, basically, brilliant – but not enough people know about them! Aimed at 16-21 year olds (you can still apply if you’re older), you’ll spend around 80 per cent of the time working and 20 per cent in training. On a programme that lasts between one and five years, you’ll get a wage and holiday pay. Check out the government’s apprenticeships guide for more information.
Volunteer roles are usually unpaid but can be a great way to meet people and expand your skills. You could volunteer somewhere linked to your career plan but, wherever you work, volunteering boosts your confidence – and your CV. If you’re keen, check out the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Job for Life?
It’s one thing to get your foot in the door – how do you plant the rest of yourself firmly in your new role? Well, the clichés are true: you may need to make tea, fetch the post and say yes to every errand. Learn everyone’s names (write them down if you’re prone to forgetfulness), learn how to use the office tech and hit-up your co-workers with your creativity, commitment and enthusiasm.
But, if you really want your job to last, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not: be the best version of yourself from the moment you clock-in.