If you have just graduated, or are quickly approaching the end of your academic life, your mind is probably occupied by thoughts of employment. Your exam stresses are over, only to be quickly replaced by concerns about not landing a job after your graduation ceremony.
Towards the end of the summer, employers up and down the country are looking for graduates to join their company. They will post out job adverts for internships and entry-level positions targeted at young people who want a leg up in their chosen industry. But it can be an incredibly competitive field. You are rivaling thousands of other talented former students for these positions, some of whom will be smarter, more driven, and with better resumés than you.
In this dog-eat-dog world, what can you do to rise above your competition and get the dream job you are after? To help you on your career journey, here are ten ways to make yourself more employable.
Make a plan
Knowing what you want from your career at an early stage will make it a lot easier to forge your own path in life. This way you can identify your career goals and start working towards them. Having a plan for your professional life will help you in interviews, as you’ll be able to answer questions about your future with confidence.
Create an amazing resumé
Your CV is the first impression a prospective employer will have of you, so it needs to stand out. It’s important to bear in mind that each hiring manager will receive a huge stack of resumés to sift through, so you want yours to be better than the competition. It should be clearly formatted and easy to pick out the most important information. Make sure it is concise and refrain from waffling. Include all relevant skills and experience and order them in relation to their importance to the role you’re applying for.
A complete novice is less likely to get the job than an applicant with relevant experience in the industry. Is there an option to find a way into your chosen field via work experience or an internship? This will bulk up your CV and is certain to wow potential employers.
Start a blog
A blog is a great way to put yourself above the competition when applying for a job, as it serves as a showcase to your skills and knowledge. Writing thoughtful posts about your industry or opinions on current affairs will show that you know your stuff. It also demonstrates your writing abilities and technical knowhow. This is important if you’re going into a role that involves complex concepts like web development or digital customer experience.
Find a part time job
A part time job shows you are driven and willing to put the work in. It doesn’t have to be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Just having some experience on your CV shows you are used to working with others and having responsibilities in a workplace setting.
Take up an extracurricular activity
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of school and work? It’s a good idea to put these on your resumé, as employers want to know that you are a well-rounded person. Skills and experience are important, but you are more likely to get the job if you show personality and character. Your extra-curricular activity could be membership of a soccer team or running club. It could be your school debating society or even volunteering in your local area.
Edit your online presence
One of the first things a potential employer will do when they receive your application is to check your online presence. They will perform a search of your name on Google, looking for your social media pages and other activity. This may sound a little creepy, but it is one of the best ways to get a sense of who the applicant really is. If they find an Instagram profile full of drunken parties and irresponsible behavior, this is not going to put you in the best light. Therefore, before you start applying for jobs you should conduct a full audit of your digital presence. Put yourself in the mind of an employer who is looking for a graduate to join their company. Scroll through your public social media pages and get rid of anything that might be a red flag. Of course it is possible to simply make your accounts private so they are not visible to anyone outside your friends and family. But having a wholesome, well-rounded online presence can actually work in your favor.
Grow your network
Succeeding in the world of business is all about who you know. Getting to know people in your industry can give your career a serious boost. Attend job fairs and industry events, making an effort to make new connections. Growing your contact list can present you with job opportunities, as well as valuable advice for getting ahead in your chosen field.
Job interviews are incredibly difficult. You have to sell yourself to an employer despite having very little in the way of experience. Not to mention the fact that you may be nervous and stumbling on your words. That’s why it’s so important to practice before an interview. Find a trusted friend or family member to pose as the interviewer and get them to ask you the questions you might expect. This will enable you to get your answers ready and be more confident when you turn up to the interview.
It’s important to remember that you are young and you have your whole life ahead of you. There is no pressure to land your dream job right away. Don’t be disheartened if you are not offered the position you wanted. It’s OK to take a less-than-perfect role right now to gain experience and earn a living before you find the position you really want. Be flexible and open-minded, and good things will happen.