There are many firsts in life. Getting a job is one of them. In the corporate world of today, getting a first job doesn’t come easy for everyone. Why? Because the job market is always smaller than the number of people who want to get in.
But, here’s the good news; employers nowadays aren’t the only ones who display the sign ‘we are hiring’. You can go ahead and carve out a job for yourself by starting at your first company as an intern and working your way up. You could even start a business if you have the right mindset.
You may be a teenager looking for a summer job. You may be a student aspiring to save money for college. You might be a stay-at-home mom who wants to land a job, or you may be an enthusiastic graduate who wants to begin their career like a pro. There’s a myth that only experience gets a job and the rest get rejected. Or that a powerful PhD gets a powerful job. That’s not always the case. A powerful PhD will obviously get a person a job, but true seekers start out early.
The work for a job begins as early as high school. That’s where you identify your likes and dislikes, and test your skills. It is a perfect field to try and sow some seeds and reap the losses or rewards before it’s too late. Dan Schawbel, founder of Millenial Branding, says students should take action as early as high school, if they are going to map out a promising track to getting a job straight out of college. It all starts with choosing majors in high school, goes on to choosing a college, and ends with a positive outlook and better opportunities for a job seeker. Majority of students/graduates are not doing this and have not done this.
Don’t worry. Firsts of life may happen anytime, and now is the right time to polish yourself to attract a great job. Here are a few things you should tick off in your checklist to attain it.
Create a LinkedIn profile
The great thing about LinkedIn is that you just have to fill out the relevant details and never worry about formatting, like you do while making a resume. Students should start a profile as early as senior year, but even if you haven’t, do it now. LinkedIn is a must-have tool for today’s job-seeker. It lets you find so many potential connections and makes you aware of location specific employers and employees.
Also, don’t fret over an empty profile. Even if your work achievements aren’t many, you can fill in the co-curricular activities you took part in as a student, or a skill you are an expert in. If nothing else, LinkedIn is a good way to project yourself as a professional who wants to grow his or her expertise.
Get internships as early as possible
Just like making a LinkedIn profile, getting an internship as early as possible is a must. You and I know that interning somewhere teaches a lot, yet we fail to land an internship. According to a survey, 85% students said they believed having an internship is either important or very important for their career and 52% said they hoped to have had three or more internships before graduating. But only 40% had done at least one internship thus far.
In finding one, look for big businesses and companies with a wide presence. Try many times until you succeed. If a big name is on your resume, it will make your profile look a whole lot better than nothing being there. Even if your job at the internship is to do nothing and just keep records, the company name in your resume will matter a lot to your future employer.
It’s very important to learn this life lesson – help someone to help yourself. Who knew volunteering could get you a job, right? Volunteering doesn’t seem like an attractive thing from afar, but has a lot of meaning attached to it. People who volunteer are regarded as strong and rooted personalities who care deeply about themselves and the society.
Just like retail and restaurant jobs, volunteer work teaches you interpersonal and organizational skills. For an employer, it is a good sign that you are responsible, open-minded and hardworking. The longer you volunteer, the more powerful your reputation becomes, and who knows, you can start your career with an NGO or a CSR project!
Establish an online presence
In these times, having an online presence is a must. Internet will be a part of your work life, no matter what you do, so establish a relationship with the internet before you roll out applications (to send emails you also need internet). The meaning behind this fact is that today if an employer searches you on Google and the search returns zero results, it won’t be very impressive.
Best way to project your person is to start a blog. Wordpress and Blogger are two easy mediums if you need a platform. A blog about nothing but what you like and what you want the world to know about. Find a way to showcase your skills and make a job for yourself! It can directly lead to a job. Post and comment on online forums and company blogposts to be seen and get noticed.
If you want to become a film maker, post your short films on your blog. If you are an artist, showcase your art. If you are a volunteer, post about the communities you have helped. Social media accounts are also seen by people when they hear a person’s name for the first time. Make sure you are a positive and giving person online.
Please remember to be realistic. Look for opportunities that match your exposure, skillset and expertise. In today’s tight job market, hundreds of resumes flood in for one vacancy. If you’re applying for a position for which you are underqualified, you will face challenges. Even if your brain says ‘I think I can do that’, ask yourself exactly how.
If you step into a job that you thought you could do, but were wrong, imagine how defeated you will feel. So be smart, and look for positions that match your caliber. One way to go about this is to imagine yourself in your employer’s shoes. What will make him excited about you? Just target that.
Search unconventional and job-specific sites
For beginners seeking out a job, going to sites like Craigslist and Monster.com can be just a waste of time. There are so many jobs in those sites, ranging from low-level wages to high ones, all flowing in front of your eyes and the resultant tsunami of information makes you clueless.
It doesn’t mean those sites won’t have a great job for you, it means that to start off your career, you need to be focused on exactly what you want and where you want to start from.
Try unconventional sites like simplyhired.com that send you emails about the topics you want to look for. There can be many categories to look through and many filters. Some sites even provide the list of colleges that companies would like to hire from, or even if you are several years out of college, some companies roll out openings to alumni of a certain college. Being targeted will get you better results than just shooting away CVs to anyone out there.
A great job is on its way to you. Before applying, make sure you have your social security number, ID card information, driver’s license, passport or photo ID. Depending on your state, you may also need a work permit. This is to prove you are a genuine person. Finding the first job at any phase of life is surely a rewarding experience, both in terms of money and expertise. Just be persistent in your efforts and keep yourself motivated. The more defeated you allow yourself to feel, the worse it can get. So be optimistic and create an opportunity for yourself.