Many students finish their final exams and then find themselves intimidated by the prospect of entering the job market.
It can be a daunting situation, but entering the workforce can also be an exciting opportunity if you have planned properly. For the best results, you should begin to plan a few months before you actually finish your course.
Choose your path
First, decide where you actually want to go in your career, and what will help you to get there. This can be an internship, a graduate programme, or straight into a permanent role – whatever is best for your needs.
If you’re still uncertain about what you want, this is the perfect time to find a career coach or mentor to help you. Remember – keep your mind open, be willing to talk, and don’t be afraid to ask all your questions and raise concerns.
Look up the details for the kind of roles you want to apply for and find out how you can become a better fit. For example, what skills will you need, and how can you improve them right now? You may find it useful to take extra workshops or courses.
Note your achievements
Create a database of everything that you’re proud of in your professional life – for example, a time when you showed leadership. You can group these into four areas: personal, education, professional, and hobbies. This will help you identify your strengths.
If you don’t have LinkedIn, make sure to make a profile and begin making connections with potential contacts. Join communities and leave comments to make an impact, and don’t be too intimidated to ask questions – especially if you are asking someone you admire. Sign up to newsletters and blog mailing lists so that you can keep updated, and attend as many events as you can.
Perfect your CV
You can ask your mentor for advice on your CV, or look up sample CV’s on the internet to find some ideal examples. In general, you should make sure that you keep it under 2 pages long and that it highlights all your key strengths and skills.
Set aside a certain amount of time each week for your job search: applications can take up a lot of time, especially if there are additional forms to complete. You will also need to adjust your cover letter for the specific needs of the company you are applying to. It is also a good idea to find specialist job sites, rather than large websites that can have an overwhelming number of adverts. If you don’t hear back, follow up with a phone call.
Prepare for interviews
If you can, practice your interview technique with your mentor and make sure your answers to typical interview questions are fully prepared. Ensure that you use specific examples to show how your skills make you the best fit for the role, and come up with some questions for the employer. It’s just as important for you to make sure you want to work there as it is for them to be sure they want to hire you.
To get in touch with the Careers Team for advice, support, or tips, send an email to: email@example.com
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