Finding a job can be considered a full-time job in and of itself. If you are a recent-grad it can be even more difficult due to a lack of professional experience. Often times, even what are considered “entry-level” jobs require 1-3 years’ experience in that industry causing job-seekers to wonder how they are to get experience, without having an opportunity to do so.
Luckily, there are ways to help job-seekers through the process from internship experience to career advice articles. While there is no blueprint to follow during the job search, you are almost certain to encounter failure and rejection. Landing your first job is usually the hardest part in the journey that is your career. Although you may have minimal professional experience, you can use what you already know to influence your job search and impress hiring managers.
CNBC’s Courtney Connley came up with three ways to show hiring managers that you are worth hiring even though you may lack professional experience.
Reach out for an informational interview.
Informational interviews are a great way for job seekers to gain valuable insight into an organization even see what someone in a role of interest does on a daily basis. Further, these interviews are a way to build and expand your network. Career coach Maggie Mistal says, “It gets you the information you need and it gets you the relationship you didn’t have.”
A great way to go about finding informational interviews is to use your LinkedIn profile. If you come across someone that works for an organization you’d like to learn more about, send them a message. Better yet, see if you have any mutual connections and ask for an introduction (if you know them personally).
Although it can be sort of uncomfortable, cold-calling the company and asking to speak with the individual is also a way to set up an informational interview. As is the case with any interview, you should still prepare questions and research the individual/organization that you are interested. By conducting an informational interview, you put yourself on the company’s radar for when potential jobs open up.
Emphasize your soft skills.
Although new job seekers and recent college grads might not have much work experience, there are still a variety of things to include on a resume. Connley suggests emphasizing your “soft skills” instead. Some examples of these skills, according to Marguerite Ward, include problem solving, attention to detail, proficiency in Microsoft Office, marketing and oral/written communication.
While it is one thing to say you have these skills on your resume, proving you have them through your experience goes further. Whether it is through various volunteer opportunities, leadership roles, etc. all professionals, regardless of experience, have learned applicable skills. If you plan on revamping your resume as a way to stand out in the process, be sure to include these five essential elements!
Make connections at a job fair.
As a college student, your school likely has a job fair at some point(s) during the year. By attending these events and making in-person connections, the employers will be able to put a name to a face if you decide to apply to a job at their company. With the competitiveness of the job market, any way to stand out to an employer will better your chances of getting a job.
As is the case with post-interview steps, after meeting someone at a job fair you should follow up. This can be done via a hand-written note, email, LinkedIn message, etc. You should be sure to reiterate your interest in the position/company and highlight something from your conversation.
While it might be difficult to actually get hired from a job fair, by approaching it the right way you could stand out to the company representatives and better your chances if you choose to apply later on.
The hardest part of a career is often finding that first position. While there are certainly exceptions, gone are the days of people staying in one job for 30 plus years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker holds ten different jobs before the age of 40 with that number only expected to grow.
The thought of having to find a new job 10+ times might seem like a terrible thing when you are struggling to land your first job, but the first is usually the hardest. Once you are established in a career and you continue to build your network, opportunities are easier to come by. The adage “it is easier to get a job when you have a job” is actually backed by research conducted by economists from Columbia University and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Chicago. The research found that employed people were more likely to receive an unsolicited contact from a potential employer or a referral from a contact and their response rate from employers was four times that of unemployed applicants.
When you do not have much professional experience, the job search can be pretty daunting. While applying to countless jobs in hopes of finding your big break, keep in mind that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel.