Job competition is tough!
There’s no denying it – searching for jobs really is a full-time job in itself and, alas, it doesn’t get much easier as you get older.
Applying for jobs is about really selling yourself to a potential employer – why should they pick you over other applicants? Think about how you can stand out from the crowd.
1. Try Online Networking
Get plugged into career networking sites.
LinkedIn is a perfect example. You might think this is a step ahead of you if you’re still studying, but it actually looks great to employers if you’re already keen to know what’s going on in the job market before you’ve even graduated.
Join discussion groups for industries you’re interested in and start building your social network to keep in the loop for the latest job offers.
Follow companies that you like and comment on their posts. This is also a great way to get noticed. Keep your comments professional though.
2. Try an Internship
If you think you’d benefit from getting a bit of work experience before deciding if a certain career is right for you, maybe offering to do a month unpaid at a nice company would work well. Should you go for a position without a salary, check out our guide to surviving an unpaid internship.
However, know your rights when it comes to internships. Unfortunately, some companies will take advantage of young people looking to kick-start their careers by making them work full-time positions without paying up.
3. Talk to Friends and Family
Staff referral is one of the most popular methods used for recruitment by employers, as companies often prefer to hire someone who their trusted employees can vouch for.
Take advantage of this by asking around friends and family who work in industries you’d like to explore. This can often result in you finding out about vacancies before the competition does, and instantly puts you at an advantage if someone can recommend you.
4. Go Beyond Job Listings
Sometimes sticking to job listings isn’t the best way to move forward.
Focusing on specific companies rather than vacancies can work in your favour, as when you move on to the application process, you’ll already have an interest in the company. That should shine through in what you say instead of just submitting an application because there’s a job up for grabs.
Keep an eye on job listings, of course, but if you see a few positions going at a great company and none of the roles are suitable for you, send them a CV and cover letter anyway (remember: sell yourself!).
If a company is posting more than one vacancy at once, it’s a sign that they’re expanding. This means it’s the perfect time to make yourself known to them and show them what you’ve got.
5. Expand Your Search (and your mind)
Particularly thanks to technology, the job market is constantly evolving at such a pace that there are heaps of jobs out there that you’ve probably never even heard of – and that didn’t exist back when you were speaking to your careers counselor at school.
For example, do you know what a UX designer is? How about a Content Marketer, a Backend Developer, or a Growth Hacker? It’s worth putting some research into this, as you might find that once you get past the unfamiliar names, these are roles you’d be interested in trying out.
Choosing to go down a less traditional career path can also mean less competition, and you might find there are more opportunities available if you expand your horizons and start looking at more niche positions.
6. Try a Recruitment Agency
Finding work through a recruitment agency can be a good choice, particularly if you find the whole idea of selling yourself particularly tough – recruiters are paid to do that bit for you.
Recruitment agencies regularly and actively search for work on your behalf, so this, of course, can lighten the burden a bit if you’re finding trawling for jobs particularly tiresome, and it can bag you a job quicker than expected.
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