Ready to enter the workplace, but unsure what your first step should be? Having trouble imagining how things will progress? Then, read on to be taken through the process of securing and starting a new job.
It’s crucial to be strategic about your job search. Otherwise, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed by the range of opportunities available. Think about what you want from your work. Do you want to gain experience in a particular field? Is remote or flexible working important to you?
A good idea would be to write a description of your perfect position. You’ll undoubtedly have to compromise on certain aspects, but this description will help focus your search.
You might choose to make your wishes known on social media, too. You never know who could help you on your career search. If you post about relevant topics on LinkedIn and raise your profile in your field, you might even be headhunted by recruiters.
The next step is to check out available vacancies. Traditionally, companies advertised their openings in the newspaper, but these days, you’ll be able to access most listings online. Get into the habit of checking the listings every day, narrowing them down by the criteria that you consider most crucial.
Create a list of all the jobs that interest you, and prioritize them. Job applications can be long and tiring processes. It’s better to submit three quality applications for positions that truly excite you than fifteen average applications addressing every job advertisement you’ve seen that day.
If you’re struggling to find positions that reflect your passions and interests, consider contacting companies that interest you. Ask if they have any opportunities available or advice to guide your search. That way, when positions do become available, you’re already known to them.
Each employer has its own job application process. Maybe you only need to send over your CV. Maybe you have to complete a form or pass an online test. Post-pandemic, companies are increasingly asking applicants to record video responses as part of the application process.
To submit an outstanding application, you should first think about your skills. What distinguishes you as a candidate? Looking at the job requirements and person specifications, what will you bring to this position? This is your first job, so you don’t have extensive work experience to draw from. However, you undoubtedly have other experiences that are relevant and valuable.
Think about extra-curricular activities you have participated in or events you have organized. Consider skills you have gained as a result of your hobbies or studies. For example, if you have a blog, you can talk about your communication skills, creativity, and ability to engage an audience. If you participated in group projects during university, you could talk about how you work as part of a team.
Maintain a positive, confident tone in your job application. Proofread it carefully, too. There’s no use claiming to be a meticulous, detail-oriented person if your application is full of typos and spelling mistakes!
Does the prospect of interviewing for a position scare you? That’s very normal! Most people experience pre-interview nerves, but there are steps you can take to ensure your first interviews go smoothly.
First of all, you can research the company. If you understand the company’s values, you’ll have a better idea of what they’re hoping to see from you as a candidate. In addition, if you can show knowledge about the company during the interview, this will impress your potential employer and demonstrate your sincere interest in the opportunity.
You can also prepare answers to some common questions. For example, it’s highly likely that you’ll be asked to introduce yourself and talk about why you applied for the position. Don’t attempt to memorize answers, but practice answering questions until you can talk fluently about yourself, your skills, and your aspirations.
On the day of the interview, ensure that you’re rested and relaxed. Eat a nourishing meal and look over the job specifications one last time. A short mindfulness meditation could help calm your nerves. Dress appropriately in clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Finally, ensure you arrive in plenty of time, whether your meeting is in-person or online!
Thank your interviewer for their time, and ask when you’ll hear back regarding the position. This will ensure you have realistic expectations so you don’t end up sitting by your cellphone for a week!
If you’re not offered a job, you’re entitled to ask for feedback. This can help highlight areas to work on before you apply for similar positions in the future. For example, if the feedback states that you lack a sufficient understanding of marketing concepts, you might consider taking an online course to supplement your knowledge.
When you receive this feedback, thank them, restate your interest in the company, and ask to be considered for future positions. Don’t take it too personally: job applications are competitive, and you’re at an early stage in your career. Return to your job search!
Starting a Job
So, you’ve been offered a job! Before your first day, make sure you’ve taken care of the practicalities. Bring any paperwork that they have requested. Organize transport in advance and ensure you arrive on time. Dress to make a great first impression.
On arrival, introduce yourself. Explain that it’s your first day. Often, you receive a lot of information on your first day that’s hard to retain due to nerves! That’s why it’s a great idea to take a notepad and jot down people’s names or any details you need to remember, like computer access codes.
Depending on the company, you may be subject to a comprehensive onboarding process or you may be more or less left to your own devices! If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be doing, don’t be afraid to ask. In quiet moments, speak to your colleagues and find out about their roles.
Be prepared for occasional awkward moments! This is your first day at your first job, so remember that it’s ok to experience doubt and confusion. Having a positive, proactive attitude is far more important than proving you know it all. Within a week, you’ll feel far more confident. Within a month, you’ll probably forget ever feeling out of place!