5 Ways to Ace Your First Professional Job Search

Professional Job Search
Professional Job Search


5 Ways to Ace Your First Professional Job Search

Congratulations – you’ve graduated! Now what? It can be daunting to take on the world of gainful employment without some kind of a plan. Here are five tips to help you tackle the job-hunting process successfully.

Byline: By Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements

1. Establish what you want

Firstly, you’re testing out the company, just as much as they’re seeing whether you’re a good fit for the job. There are things that are important to you, such as caring for the planet or working for an organisation that promotes diversity and inclusivity. By taking this approach, you’ll go into the interview with your eyes open and the right questions will come to mind, rather than feeling out of your depth.

Next, what do you want from an entry-level position? Sit down for 10 minutes with a sheet of paper and a pen, and jot down everything that comes to mind about the upcoming job search. Love people? An in-office job will suit you best. Want a challenge? It’s best to ask in the interview what potential there is for promotion. Need something relaxed and part-time while you tackle a post-graduate qualification? A position that’s too academic could make you feel overly pressurised.

2. Portray who you really are

Not only your CV but also the way you appear on social media probably needs a little tweaking. Set about modifying your resume to emphasise your skills and any experience you have that most matches the requirements of the job. It’s not about doing a complete rewrite, but simply highlighting what you most want the recruiter to know about you. Similarly, your cover letter will require a certain amount of job-specific polishing to ensure your application is placed near the top of the pile.

As you begin adding profiles on job search portals and responding to adverts for positions, you’ll find there’s nothing quite as helpful as a spreadsheet to keep you organised. Draw up your columns, detailing the company offering the position, contact person and their details – especially phone number and email address. What’s the role you’ve applied for and have they set an interview date? These aspects of the process need a column, too.

When it comes to interview prep, it’s definitely worth creating an event on your digital calendar for any interviews you have coming up, so that you’ll receive a reminder closer to the time, both on your laptop and your smart phone.

3. Look the part

And what about heading to the mall with your trendiest friend to see what fashion items can spruce up your corporate wardrobe? Think what a navy jacket, moderate heels, a nifty tie or striped shirt can do to enhance your look. You know better than to arrive with chipped nail polish, unpolished shoes or an out-of-control beard, right? These are the finishing touches that will make your interview poised and totally on point.

4. Academia rules

If you’re heading into the interview with a diploma, degree or more, you’re way ahead of the crowd. Tap into the knowledge that your course has given you, together with the critical factors that are needed in the role you’ve applied for. While jargon may be taboo in a blog or when you attend a social function, you can take full advantage of what you know when you’re chatting to other professionals in your identified niche. Hint: this is also a way of gaining a rapport – where you feel in sync with those you’ll be reporting to. You want to show you’re keen to take on the role, knowing your academic prowess is respected.

5. Uncover your persona

There’s no harm in finding out your personality profile. A careers counsellor will set you on the right path with tools like the Enneagram, which will help you understand how your personality type can thrive in the workplace. Take the time to do the tests and you may just be set up for life in terms of the ideal people to work for and the reasons why.

Be careful, considerate and conscientious in this process – it may help you in your working relationships and professional gut feel for the rest of your career. Your career will last for at least 50 years. You want trusted colleagues, valuable tasks and to apply what you’ve learned in your studies to best effect in a stimulating work environment.

Let that little voice inside get honed from the very start.