To get a job you first need experience but to get the experience you first need a job. This is the common conundrum faced by young school leavers and graduates.
Many people end up getting frustrated and disheartened by the lack of prospects seemingly available when joining the job market, however, there are several steps you can take to overcome this challenge and successfully launch your career.
STEP 1: Highlight your academic experience.
Whether you have just matriculated, or are graduating from university, you can use your academic experience to highlight your existing skills to potential employers. In place of listing previous work experience on your CV, try to figure out the skills and traits that the employer is looking for, and then identify areas of your academic experience that speak to these. For example, you can make mention of any leadership positions you may have held, specific accomplishments/awards that you achieved, organisations you were part of or presentations/projects that you participated in. These will help to demonstrate any job-related skills that you already possess that can be translated into the working world.
STEP 2: Have realistic expectations.
It is good to aim high when it comes to your career, but also important to be realistic about your expectations. Don’t presume to waltz into the job market and land a high-paying senior job position right off the bat. Be prepared to put in the work and climb your way up the ladder. In other words, look for an entry-level position that has potential for growth. Your career goals are probably grander than that, however, simply entering the job market is the first stepping-stone to being able to achieve your dream job one day.
STEP 3: Have patience and be productive.
Patience is essential when searching for a job as the application process can take a while and you might not hear back from places as quickly as you’d like to, or in some cases, at all. It is important that you don’t let yourself become discouraged by this and are continuously seeking out opportunities and applying for them. You can demonstrate your motivation and intent to work by spending your time upskilling yourself by enrolling in online courses and certifications. This shows the employer that you are dedicated and have a good work ethic and willingness to learn. There are several free online platforms that offer short courses and certifications that can help you to gain new skills or develop existing ones.
STEP 4: Networking.
Networking can be nerve-racking however it is also hugely beneficial when on the job hunt. Cultivate connections with former classmates, friends who have found employment, and even people who you don’t formally know but would like to connect with. Platforms like LinkedIn are great for establishing a network of professional contacts. Make sure that people know that you are actively pursuing a career and are open to opportunities, and don’t be afraid of self-marketing. As they say, it is often not about what you know, but who you know. Being referred to a company is one the quickest ways to land an interview.
STEP 5: Nail the interview.
Once you have heard back from your application and have landed a job interview, the next most important step is to ace that interview. Much of the advice offered around interviews applies to in-person meetings, however nowadays, you are more likely to have your initial interview online. Here are seven tips for a successful video interview.
At Hexagon Recruitment, we often help companies fill vacancies where little-to-no work experience is required. Our unique recruitment process places less emphasis on experience and education and is more focused on identifying candidates that are problem solvers, have an aptitude for growth, and have the same values and ethics as our customers. View our current vacancies here.