University graduation has come and gone and despite all the talk of it being the hottest job market in years for new graduates, you’re still on the sidelines. You’ve sent out dozens of CVs and submitted countless
applications. Still, nothing.
Panic sets in. You start to think all that study was for nothing.
With little real experience on your resume, what can you do to increase your odds of landing your dream position and to make yourself more attractive to employers?
Treat it like a job
“The best advice is simple, but job seekers rarely follow it,” said Ginger Porter, managing director of the Dallas and Atlanta offices at global communications firm Golin, in an email. “Start every day like it’s your work day.”
Don’t lounge around in your PJs all day while binge-watching your favourite shows. Get dressed in the morning with the idea that you have somewhere you need to be: looking for a job.
Porter suggests writing a list of every person you know, or can think of in your chosen field. These should be people you can approach who might be able to help with your job search. Ask each one of them for short
coffee dates, or even a brief phone chat or email response. Don’t ask for a job.
“Talk to each of them about what you’re looking for, and be specific: ‘I’m looking for a position with this kind of employer where I can use my skills in XYZ. Do you have any advice for me?’” said Porter. “People will make
the time to give advice, and it’s better than booking their time to ask for a job.”
If you’re meeting in person, present yourself professionally — after all, you’re asking for help and possibly a personal referral. Arrive prepared with examples of how you’ve successfully used your skills in the past,
whether it was for a school project or an internship. Your aim is to impress. Before you leave, ask the person if there is anyone to whom they might be able introduce you. Follow the same process with those people.
“It’s an exponential effect,” said Porter. “You could potentially talk to 100 people this way, and I guarantee that out of that group of people, someone has the perfect job that fits your skills.”
Outside your comfort zone
If you are getting interviews but they are outside the field you studied and not really of any interest to you, take time to gain more work experience in your field, according to Prague-based Oliver Donoghue, managing
director of the Nonstop Recruitment Schweiz AG talent agency. And that may mean taking a position slightly different than you hoped for.
“It doesn’t have to be anything game-changing. Even a brief stint at a relevant organisation will be enough to show employers that you’re serious about your career and want to gain some professional experience,” he