The search for a job can be a harrowing process, especially for recent graduates who are searching for their first full-time employment. New job-seekers must navigate a labyrinth of job postings that demand years of experience and a seemingly endless number of skills, both technical and soft.
However stressful the hunt may be, there are many steps that job-seekers can take to improve their odds of being selected by an employer.
Which Strategy to Choose?
Those who are beginning a job search may either search for employment online or in person. Job-seekers who prefer the digital application method can sign up for Indeed, Handshake, and LinkedIn.
Though finding a job using the first two websites is somewhat self-explanatory, searching for a job on LinkedIn is more nuanced. Candidates can gradually increase their network and message their connections to find opportunities.
For the in-person strategy, students who have not yet graduated may attend career fairs where employers visit the campus, hear student elevator pitches, and accept resumes. Before submitting a resume digitally or in-person, candidates should either use a Resume Writing Lab or search online for resume dos and don'ts.
What to Do If You Don't Have Any Experience?
Many job-seekers complain that employers request too many years of experience for entry-level positions. While this is a valid concern, it is important to note that most times, the experience bullet is a suggestion.
In a job posting, an employer is describing their ideal candidate. That means someone who is applying does not have to meet every piece of the stated criteria. Therefore, if a candidate believes he or she has the necessary skills for a position but not the years of experience in the field, it is still worth applying.
Job Searching in the Right Field or Industry
There is always a disparity between fields in terms of job openings. An English major, for example, may struggle to find work as an editor due to competition and over-saturation in the field of publishing.
However, this English major may find that his or her skill set is valuable in the field of law, especially when analyzing cases and drafting motions. This scenario is an illustration of why it is important to search outside of one's intended field.
Which Salary Do You Expect?
Sometimes, employers will provide an expected salary on their job posting. Alternatively, job-seekers can check the website Glassdoor and see what salaries employees have reported. Especially for recent graduates who are in search of their first full-time job, the expected salary is an important point of compromise. That salary range does not include all of the benefits an employer is offering.
An employer with a salary of only $30,000 may be offering a month of paid vacation days, as well as health and dental insurance. Furthermore, offers are almost always open to negotiation, and even a negotiation that increases a salary by a few thousand dollars will have a significant impact on an individual's lifetime earnings.
Why Location Is Important?
Location can also have a dramatic effect on one's job search. Though big cities do seem appealing due to the sheer amount of businesses that exist there, the pool of talented candidates is also much bigger.
Furthermore, some big cities are home to a few local universities, and employers may give preference to candidates from those institutions. For this reason, expanding one's location preference within reason may improve his or her employment outcome.
One More Advice
Before starting a job search, one should update their resume and write a standard cover letter. Job-seekers should ensure that the resume is as concise as possible, as recruiters will likely skim its contents. The resume should be free of any grammatical errors, and bullet points under each work experience should be relevant to a real-world skill.
For example, if one worked as a customer service associate, he or she should include a bullet about resolving customer concerns, rather than listing a daily activity like "assisted in closing the store." This advice is also relevant to the cover letter.
Any irrelevant position can be used in the cover letter if skills are emphasized, rather than daily activities. If an employee is applying for a secretary position, but their only experience is working as a summer camp counselor, including details about kayaking would not improve that candidate's chances.
However, an employer would appreciate a description of how that same employee worked effectively in a team of counselors to ensure the efficiency of camp operations, as this ability would also prove useful in an office setting.
In summation, though the job search can at times feel futile, there are plenty of methods of increasing one's employment odds. Though everyone has deal breakers, candidates should get comfortable with making compromises.
In addition, they should ensure that their cover letters and resumes properly reflect the skills and abilities they can bring to the position they are applying for.