Fresh Out of College? 5 Practical Tips to Help you Land Your First Job

Job hunting can be a full-time job in itself, especially if you’ve just graduated and you’re competing with your peers in a crowded jobs market. How do you make yourself stand out? You’ll need to be committed, tenacious and organised, but there are other things you can do to get ahead. Here are some practical tips for new job hunters…

  1. Set yourself an applications target

Securing your first job out of college or university can be a numbers game. You’ll be competing with lots of other people in the same position, and perhaps even with exactly the same qualifications. According to research by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), there were around 50 applications for each graduate vacancy in 2019.

To give yourself the best chance of success, you’ll need to scout out every suitable opportunity. You should still be selective, but make sure you get your CV in front of as many employers as possible.  To keep yourself motivated, set yourself a daily or weekly applications target.

  1. Track your applications

If you’re applying for lots of different roles, it’s easy to lose track. Make yourself a simple spreadsheet to help you organise your job hunting, using it to see which roles you’ve applied for and the progress of each application. Make timely follow-ups if you haven’t heard back, and you can even use your spreadsheet to include feedback.

  1. Tailor your cover letter and CV

So you’re applying for lots of different jobs, but are you customising your CV and cover letter for each one?  In order to stand out from the other applicants, you need to clearly demonstrate why your perfect for the role. Spell it out in your cover letter, showing how you meet the person specification, and amend your CV to prioritise the most relevant qualifications and experience.

  1. Ask for feedback

If you apply for lots of roles but are getting knocked back every time, it is good to understand why. Constructive feedback can help you improve your applications and understand where there may be gaps in your skills or experience. There could even be a simple thing you can change – such as reprioritising your CV to highlight relevant experience – that will make you a better candidate for interview. So, the next time you receive a rejection email, politely ask for some feedback.

  1. Spread your net wider

Jobs boards are overcrowded, but there are other ways to seek out exciting opportunities. You can find many roles advertised on social networking sites, especially business networking platforms like LinkedIn.

Networking in general can be essential in job hunting, so get yourself to jobs fairs, join relevant online communities and engage in online conversations on relevant industry topics. Develop online profiles and make it known that you’re actively seeking a new role, so that employers with vacancies can find you.

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