How to land your first job – step 2; finding job openings

The growing up guide -  You’ve perfected your CV now what? How to land your first job - Step 2

If you’ve read the first article of this short series, you would have read about the few tips I had on how to make your CV bullet-proof. Just to recap, I’m writing this short series for graduates and youngsters who are looking to land their first job.

Job hunting can be a daunting process, but with a little bit of guidance and support, it need not be!

Throughout the series I’m going to walk you through each challenge that you’ll face before you land that first job.

Next up – a list of things you should consider doing once you’ve perfected your CV.

The following hints & tips are in addition to the good old method of directly targeting open vacancies at your dream companies. Assuming that you’ve already submitted a few applications the old-fashioned way – what else can you do in the meantime, while you wait for the call-back?

Recruitment agencies can be your best friends

There’s nothing wrong with sending your CV directly to the companies you want to work for. In fact, it’s preferable to go direct for the employers, because they save money from not having to pay commission fees to the recruitment agencies –  so it might increase your odds that little bit more if you go direct.

That said, there are a few benefits to using recruitment agencies.

I still remember the time when I was looking for a new challenge early in my career, I contacted a few recruitment agencies for an initial chat.

There were a couple of agents who were particularly helpful. The lady who actually got me my current role, spent a whole hour on the phone with me going through the in-and-outs of this new industry I knew hardly anything about.

The ultimate aim is to settle down with 2–3 agencies maximum at any one time, you wouldn’t want to sign up with too many and end up duplicating applications.

And on that note, always tell your agents when you apply for jobs elsewhere – the last thing you want is for your potential employer to receive the same application twice, it won’t look very organised on your part!

It’s about who you know: Start networking

In business, they all say: “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” I hate to say this, but it’s true.

In an era when being in a good network can be your golden ticket to success, it’s more important than ever to mix with the right people.

I once got a pretty impressive role, which adds quite a lot of weight to my CV, from a networking event.

It may sound like a terrifying move, but you have to remember these people are just human. Outside of work, they all have their own personal lives and interests in football, music, cooking… whatever it might be.

So, when you start a conversation, don’t just focus on business – find a common interest and start building your relationship from there.

The more they like you as a person, the more likely they’d want to go into business with you or help you out (the speaker I met introduced me to the department head of the impressive role I mentioned).

Start looking for networking events that you can go to – look out for alumni get-togethers, Facebook groups, Meetup events… you’ll be surprised what you can find through just a few clicks on Google.

Then once you’re there, just be yourself. Talk about last night’s rugby game, the latest Game of Thrones episode – you can totally get away with 80% chit-chat, 20% business. When the time comes, just bring the topic back to business and get a chance to exchange contact details.

Clean up your social media

I don’t just mean LinkedIn – cleaning up your LinkedIn profile is kind of given nowadays.

But I’m not talking about LinkedIn here, instead I’m talking about other more personal platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

“Will they really check my social media?” I hear you ask. The answer is, “Yes.”

Years of sitting near my director in the office taught me many things, one of which is the detailed prep employers do before an interview.

Looking through someone’s social media feeds can tell a lot about a person – their interests, habits, even personality traits like how they deal with conflicts or value relationships.

Ssince your behaviours in private often carry through into your professional life, looking at how you act on social media gives a pretty good indication of how you would act at work. That’s why employers do it.

So, if you think you’ve been acting pretty decently on social media, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Maybe just scroll through your recent posts and edit/delete anything that is too controversial or makes you sound too aggressive.

Sharing industry news with a touch of personal thoughts often gives off the vibe that you’re genuinely interested in the field, which is a plus, but do note that you can overdo it – I’d say these posts should take up no more than 20% of your feeds.

If you don’t have the time yet to really sit down and go through your social media accounts, consider changing your privacy settings temporarily so that no one can read your feeds until you’re good to go again.

So, here are the things you could be doing on top of just submitting applications directly to the companies you want to work for.



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