Finding a job is tough, but what kind of job is it?

GETTING a job just after graduation can seem a long trek. Not everyone will find the process quick or straightforward, and there may be an element of luck to it at times. Sadly, no one really teaches you what you need to do. I know you are struggling to find a job after graduating and you are feeling discouraged and disheartened. Let me encourage you by saying that “the right job is out there waiting for you”. I have compiled some tips to help you get there and how to plan a successful job hunt.

Being unemployed is pretty common, often more than once in your career. Sometimes we leave a job voluntarily; sometimes the job ends because the employer shuts down all or part of their organisation. It is important to be careful how you go about your job search and how you take time off for interviews.

Finding a job is tough, yes it’s true. But what kind of job is it? This is a question we need to unpack. When you deeply think about it, the job search is actually a public relations exercise and there is no doubt to that. On the job hunt, you are advocating for yourself. If you want to finally land that dream position, you also have got to practice good personal public relations skills. So treat your job search the same way a public relations practitioner would treat their PR campaign.

Here is a short guide on how to get started with your professional life.

Do some research and planning

This first stage of a PR campaign is to research, same with job hunting. Solid knowledge of yourself and your future employer will be the foundation for your job search. You begin by brainstorming and taking note of your skills, where the skills fit, as well as the companies that are looking for a valuable asset like you. When you are done, make a list of places you will apply, and read everything you can about those places.
Plan how you will write cover letters that boldly declare your need to work for that company and your value addition. Use that research to find the keywords your potential employers are looking for, and thread those keywords into your resume. Draft a step-by-step task list of how you will handle each follow-up letter, each phone call and each interview.

Get your documents and original transcripts in place

The only way you can prove yourself as a good candidate for employment is through your school records. Some companies even make decisions on applications based on candidates’ final grades.
Some employers require (transcript of records, letter of graduation, etc) so you need to have them in place. Other very useful documents are those concerning your experience if any. Some employers even call the company to ask about both your competence and attitude, hence you need to know who to put as references.

Prepare your resume

I have gone through innumerable resumes and I could say the most common mistakes that fresh graduates make in preparing this important document are not proofreading, providing incomplete or unnecessary details, using copied lines from the internet (plagiarism) and having a disorganised format. It is never too late to write and refine your resume. However, provide the extra effort in polishing the contents of your resume.

Tailor every application for the role

The key to getting called for an interview is to tailor your cover letter and CV to the job in hand, so study that job spec long and hard. Most jobs will require you to submit a covering letter and tailored CV when you apply. It might be tempting to just dish out the same documents for each job, but please never do this. It might seem like a total headache to tailor every application you send out but, if you do not, recruiters will be able to tell (trust us). Always remember the type of work you are applying for and only add details that will help you land in such position.

Network, network !

Do you know that almost 80% of jobs are never advertised, your challenge is to find out where those jobs exist. Tap the hidden job market and make connections through social networking. Networking is one of the best ways to find employment and you should start with family members, friends, neighbours, co-workers to inquire about opportunities and get some leads. You can also join and attend professional organisation meetings in your field.

Upload your CV to job sites

It is not only job seekers who use job sites, employers and recruiters often search through them when looking for potential candidates too. There is a chance that a future employer could come across your CV on a job site and realise you are the ideal candidate for them. It’s too good an opportunity to miss. Creating a profile and uploading your CV will probably take a few minutes, but it is worth it. It goes without saying, but you should also be uploading your CV to your LinkedIn profile too as many employers use LinkedIn to get potential candidates.

Appear professional on social media

The first thing you should be doing as a student or graduate job searcher is making sure you have a professional online presence. In that we do not mean you have to post all photos of yourself wearing a suit and tie on online platforms. But it is essential to present yourself as a respectful, trustworthy and employable someone on social media to convince recruiters to hire you. In fact, you have to make yourself look more professional online.

Being professional is also crucial even when you are not online. Always stay professional in dealing with people and work. Learn how to suck it up when faced with irate clients and remember to treat everyone with respect. Professionalism will get you a long way. Sometimes, the only deciding factor for promotion between you and your colleague who has the same credentials as you is how professional you act at work.

Expand your search

Sometimes job seekers may need to expand their requirements to find the right fit. In some cases, it may mean looking for positions in another city. Other times it may mean considering jobs outside their college major.

Take advantage of every available opportunity to connect with employers in person, such as job fairs and other networking events. A resume cannot tell your whole story to an employer, so an in-person meeting (no matter how brief) gives you an opportunity to provide details about your skills and experience.

Wait to give notice

Do not give notice to your current employer until you have a firm job offer in hand, with a scheduled starting date for your new position. If possible, negotiate with your new employer so that you can provide your current supervisor with the standard two weeks’ notice. You are also supposed to keep your job search secret.

Do not give your current employer reason to fire you by telling them that you intend to find a new job with a different organisation. Conduct your search, if possible, outside the office, using your personal phone number and a non-work-related email account.

Job hunting strategy is a task and a very important one just because it leads you in the right direction and towards your prospect career. Finding a new job is a massive undertaking that can consume a lot of time and effort for job seekers. With all the work to be done to find their next career opportunity, job seekers need the right set of job hunting skills to survive during the multifaceted job search process.

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