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If you’re a fresh graduate who is only beginning to tread the “real” world adults have been raving about, you’re probably wondering about applying for your first job.
Often, new grads find it challenging – overwhelming, even – to begin their job search. After all, there are plenty of things you need to learn about – from coming up with resumes and cover letters to seeking out viable job positions to apply for.
Still, it is an exciting new adventure that is entirely different from life as a student.
Not only will you be able to start earning your own money but you can also showcase your skills and apply the things you’ve learned in school.
With thousands of applicants vying for just dozens of jobs, you have to make it a point to stand out from the crowd.
To do this, you must first avoid obsessing over the intense competition; else you’ll risk feeling more self-conscious and anxious.
Focus on the most important things you must do, like looking for job posts and aiming for specific companies.
After seeking viable positions from the latest job postings to apply for, you should also make sure that you prepare yourself for the application process.
To get you started, below are six tips that every first-time job-seeker might find useful in becoming the brightest star among a pile of applicants:
1. Keep the Personal Info Short
Some fresh grads make the mistake of including too much information on their resumes that it ends up looking like a slam book.
This is a big no-no. Your resume and cover letter are the first things that potential employers see, so you have to make sure it looks as professional and expertly written as possible.
Rather than putting as much info as you can, keep your personal details short and concise.
Skip the unnecessary family details and marital status; these aren’t necessary when assessing your capacity to perform the tasks the job entails.
Only include information that helps prospective employers learn how you can help them with their business. Aside from your name and career objective, you should focus on your skills and include details of any training, degree, or certificate you hold.
2. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter Based to the Job
While writing a generic resume and cover letter is easier, it won’t necessarily improve your chances of getting hired.
This is why you should remember to customize these documents depending on the specific role you’re applying for.
Don’t be too modest and include any experience and skills you believe are relevant to the job, regardless of whether it is acquired from a personal hobby or an actual work.
Again, you don’t have to put everything there – just the ones relevant to the specific post you’re trying out for.
3. Don’t Forget Social Media
In this modern age, recruiters no longer just look at an applicant’s resume. The truth is, they are more frequently checking social media accounts to see not only the things an applicant is willing to divulge, but also how he behaves and fits in with the company culture.
A whopping 93 percent of recruiters look for a candidate’s social media account when determining whether he is a good fit for the position.
So, before you send your first application, remember to clean up your social media profiles first.
Look at your social media accounts from an HR perspective. If you find that some posts or photos might cause potential employers to feel embarrassed, you have the option to delete them or set the privacy settings from public to private.
It would also be better to have professional accounts on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. These two are often used by professionals to connect with other businesses and showcase their expertise in the industry.
4. Study the Company You’re Applying to
Before you can boast about being an excellent candidate to potential employers, you must do your homework first and study about the company you’re applying for.
After all, how can you consider yourself a good fit for the company if you don’t know anything about their business?
Aside from crafting your resume and cover letter based on what the company is looking for, doing this will also help you prepare for the interview ahead.
Remember: While employers do need skilled people, they are also seeking people who are motivated and excited about the company itself.
5. Rehearse Your Interview
If you’re headed to your first interview, it will help if you practice first. Research potential interview questions online and rehearse answering them with a friend or by yourself.
This will help you get over the nerves of the first interview and get more comfortable answering the recruiter’s questions. It will also help you feel at ease in hearing yourself speak out loud.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Network
Networking fills 85 percent of all jobs around the world. This means that who you know matters when it comes to job search, so don’t be afraid to tap your network. Referrals are key.
As a new grad, you’ll most likely have a better chance of getting hired if you seek help from mentors, professors, teachers, and school staff.
Aside from pointing you in the right direction, they can give you recommendation letters to boost your chances of winning the position you’re interested in.
Stand Out and Get Hired
Being a greenhorn in the world of job search doesn’t automatically make you the recruiters’ last choice in an employee selection process. If you use the tips listed in this article, you should be able to capture their attention and retain it long enough to get hired for your first job.
David Mackenzie, a recruitment professional with over 20 years’ experience in the field and a record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, is Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones. As the Group MD, David is responsible for the overall direction of the Mackenzie Jones Group, including Mackenzie Jones, MumsAtWork, MENA Solutions, Simply Digital and ThinkTech.
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