How to Start Your Entry Level Job Search
You’ve worked hard for your degree and now it’s time to find a job. Like your education, consider this another step in your career path. Spend time to get yourself ready for the search. Just as last minute “cramming” doesn’t prepare you for an exam, waiting until the last minute to get ready for a job search is unlikely to make you succeed.
Have one or more versions of your resume polished and ready to hand out. This is an obvious step but one that is too often missed. Finding the perfect job online for which to apply or meeting a potential employer at a networking event is a poor time to realize your resume is not ready.
Have a resume on your website to which you can refer people and have printed copies that you carry around with you. Since you never know where you will be when connecting with someone who may want to see a resume, make it easy to give them one at anytime.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Hopefully you have focused your social media on your career during the last couple years of school. Recruiters and hiring managers are tapping into social media to learn about candidates. What would a recruiter viewing your Facebook page learn about you? Does it make them feel like you would be a good fit for their company or would it scare them away. No matter how good your education and experience, a questionable social media page will drive employers away.
Understand Your Requirements
Take some time to write down what it is you want or need from a job. Give yourself some parameters within which you’ll do your job search. You may not find a job that matches all of them, but one that doesn’t meet any of them is one you will be unhappy in until you find another job. Some valid requirements might be:
- Allows me to continue learning about my field
- Gives me time to prepare for my graduate work
- Lets me work with creative and interesting people
- Meets my entry level salary requirements
- Keeps me interested for at least one year
Your first entry-level job will not likely be one you work at for the rest of your life. As you gain experience, you’ll look for opportunities to advance, perhaps in a different company. Consider your first job an important stepping-stone into your overall working career.
Your First Searches
When you feel that you’re prepared to head out on your job quest, check out the online job boards first. Most let you create a detailed profile of yourself, and while tedious, they are helpful. Employers look at those profiles to find just the right fit. Take the time to make each profile as detailed as you can about your background and career goals.
Look for networking opportunities near you. Professional organizations and civic groups often have functions you can attend to meet local business leaders. If there are companies for which you would like to work, find out which meetings and groups those leaders are likely to attend and sign up.
There are a number of resources online to help you with an interview, such as this article in the Financial Post. Review the possible questions asked during an interview and be comfortable with your answers before sitting down in front of a recruiter. A recruiter or hiring manager pays attention to how you respond to a question and not just the content of your answer. Be able to show confidence during an interview with your responses.
Your first job out of school is an exciting step and one that can gain some momentum for your chosen career. Take time to be prepared and find the best position that meets your initial goals. You won’t be there forever but your first job will create a foundation on which you’ll build the rest of your working life.