Looking for a job is hard. Looking for a job when you’ve just got this cool new degree at college is even harder. You’ve spent hours looking through advertisements in a field you are remotely interested in working in, find an entry level job with entry level pay, only to see that they’re asking you to be under a certain age with over 5 years’ experience in work (and no, college education doesn’t count!)
It can be incredibly discouraging to know that any attempts at standing out from the crowd are futile as you just don’t have -quite- what they’re looking for to fill that empty spot in their staff team.
Yes, looking for your first job outside of college can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how to make yourself stand out from the crowd the next time you submit that application form.
‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Did you know that over 50% of the available jobs out there are not advertised? That is because of what is known as ‘the hidden job market’ the underground goldmine of jobs that are waiting for talented people to fill them.One of those people could be you.
Get talking to friends and family, take to social media to let people know that you are now open for opportunities. These people who know you well could have just the opportunity you are looking for. You never know who will be looking for someone like you to learn the ropes at their place of employment, so don’t be shy in asking those in the know.
Send Speculative Letters
Maybe there’s nobody you know in the field in which you want to work. Now it’s time to get bold. If you’re a law graduate who’d love to work at a law firm you can always count on but haven’t seen any suitable jobs available, do some detective work and find out who the hiring manager is there. Use this information to send a letter similar to a cover letter. Use this as an opportunity to tell the organisation what it is in particular about that organisation that makes you want to work there- as well as what skills you can bring to the table. Be confident without arrogance.
The classic ‘show, don’t tell’ opportunity comes from doing just that. Yes, it might feel like working for free, but it’s as much a trial period for you as it is for them. Ask about any volunteering opportunities which can be sold as an opportunity to help out the company. If there are no openings available after some time, you could ask for a referral letter in return for your time. This is particularly helpful for reputable companies whose reputation will serve you well in your pursuit for employment.
Don’t Give Up
Looking for a job is challenging and disheartening at times. Keep going when things seem tough- your next opportunity may be just around the corner.