There’s no point beating about the bush: the job market for those of you just graduating is going to be TOUGH. Unemployment is high right now, and you’re going to be competing with people with more experience than you who are now on the job hunt, too. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Some employers prefer more inexperienced people in junior roles, because they can be moulded to suit the business’ way of working. Also, while you may not have experience, you do have youthful tenacity and creativity on your side. So here are four ways you can put that to good use in your job search…
This is about more than just LinkedIn (although LinkedIn is a great place to start!) Use all social media platforms to network, and source opportunities to meet people who could help get you that all-important foot on the ladder. Twitter is a good one for this- follow companies or people who are in the fields that interest you, and start engaging with them. Don’t hound them for help getting a job (no one likes that from strangers!) but start building a rapport. Share their posts, reply, engage in conversation. That aim is for them to remember your name. That way, when a job comes up which they may be involved/able to influence the hiring process, you’ll be able to reach out and ask for help. This is a long game- and there are no guarantees, but networking has always been a crucial way for people to get to the top of the pile when it comes to the job search. The old phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is still as true today as it’s ever been. Building your network in any way you can is a good way to make this work for you!
LinkedIn is the social media site designed for professional networking. Ensure your profile is selling you as well as possible, and then network, network, network! Follow and message recruiters who work in the industries you’re interested in. Create and share content to get your name out there. This is NOT the time to be a wallflower. Be seen!
This will work better for some careers more than others, but by dedicating time to a blog or vlog, showcasing your passion for a particular field, can help you to stand out. Let’s say you want to go into something to do with Corporate Social Responsibility / Conservation / Sustainability. Well, if you’ve got a dedicated blog talking about how you can live a more sustainable life, when you’re applying to that job at Greenpeace and you’re trying to prove you’re passionate about environmental issues, you can prove it! Employers know that it takes time and dedication to set up a successful blog or vlog, so they know that you’re serious, and it’ll elevate your application.
The name of the game is standing out from the crowd. CVs are the standard way for people to apply for jobs- and by all means shouldn’t be discounted – but “standard” isn’t what’s going to elevate your application. Try and think of creative ways to get noticed. Going for a role in marketing, film, or another creative field? Create a video pitch that highlights what makes you different, and what you’ve got to offer. Are you a graphic designer? Create a visual portfolio showing off your skills. Want to work in sales? Find a creative and tenacious way of getting your foot in the door- like sending your CV attached to a box of doughnuts and follow up with a phone call, introducing yourself as “The One With The Doughnuts”. It makes you memorable and should at least give you some time on the phone to sell yourself! The point is, there is no ‘one way’ of getting noticed, but showing a willingness to think creatively is a skill that every employer values.
An oldie but a goodie! Sometimes, you can’t beat a printed CV and cover letter sent straight to the source of the job. Yes- I said printed. Sure, emailing it works too- but believe me when I say, most inboxes are FULL of unread emails, and unless they’ve got a HR team to look after job applications, yours might not get more than a cursory glance. But someone who’s taken the time to write a custom CV and cover letter (and yes, custom means CUSTOM, not generic. And yes, you DO need both. Sorry) then printed it off, bothered to physically post it with the correct address – that’s someone who’s committed to working for you! It’s not that common these days for people to physically mail an application for a job. It might just get you noticed. This method can work particularly well if you’re reaching out speculatively.
NOTE: If the job application specifically asks for an email/digital application, then do not mail it in! It’s important you’re seen as someone who can follow instructions.
Whatever approach you decide to take, the key is to stand out, and to get noticed. There is no one like you in the world- so you need to show your prospective employer what makes you uniquely perfect for that role. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m sorry to say that you will face some rejection on your career journey. But that is just the nature of the beast, it’s not a reflection on you! Just dust yourself off, keep going, and try again. Because if you persevere, you WILL succeed. Good luck!