The first 20 to 22 years of your life were easy; everything was laid out perfectly for you. Now that you’re done with school, all you have to do is get a job! Sounds easy enough, right? Um, not quite. Don’t forget, you’re not the only one who’s trying to take their first step into the workforce.
The sad truth is that college hasn’t prepared you for everything. It can get pretty brutal out there, especially if you’re just aimlessly sending dozens of generic job applications. Up your game with these tips:
1. Make the recruiter’s job easier!
These people have to sift through hundreds of CVs and cover letters at any given time. After a while, they all start looking the same! How can you stand out? Make sure your CV isn’t just full of filler words. It’s about quality, not quantity. Use keywords from the job description to make you seem like you’re exactly what they need. Keep it clean; use bullet points.
2. Talk about your soft skills.
Because you’re just starting out and don’t have much professional experience, focusing on your soft skills can work to your advantage. Your soft skills are the skills you can use at any job: personality type, leadership skills, communication skills, organizational skills, and so on. Of course, these won’t mean much unless you back them up with stories or examples!
3. Networking is essential.
Do not be complacent. Do not wait around for the perfect job to land on your lap. Get out there and attend events! Use all your connections. It’s not about who you know; it’s about the people THEY know.
4. Have a timeline.
During an interview, ALWAYS ask about the application process. Find out when you should expect to hear back from them. Some people are hesitant about doing this, because it makes it seem like you’re rushing the hiring managers. Don’t worry about that. You need to know how long it’ll take for them to make a decision so you know how long you’d be willing to wait for them while you’re interviewing for other companies. Your time is equally important. On that note, there will be some hiring managers who never get back to you anyway, no matter how well your interview went. It’s annoying, but that’s just how job hunting works.
5. Yay! You got the job. What now?
Now, you make damn sure they know that you deserve to be there. How do you do this? Well, for one thing, ALWAYS SHOW UP EARLY. Forget everything you know about Filipino time. It is bullshit and just the worst thing to ever be associated with our culture. It makes you look unprofessional and unprepared. Also, arriving early allows you to get menial tasks out of the way and gives you some breathing room to mentally prepare yourself for the day.
6. Have a plan.
It’s easy to get stuck and settled into a routine, especially when you’re just starting out. But think about your career goals. How long do you want to stay there? What do you want to learn while you’re there? Be proactive!
7. Keep your CV updated.
Your future self will thank you if you update your CV along the way. When the time comes that you want to make some professional changes, you won’t have to painfully go through everything you’ve done the last couple of years.
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