The big, scary world beyond the cosy comforts of college is a culture shock to every graduate. Competition is fierce for the handful of job opportunities and the old saying is true; the early bird does catch the worm. There is no time to procrastinate or leave job search until the last minute as all the good ones will already be taken. If you want to graduate and hit the ground running, here are 10 things you should consider.
Related: 4 Ways Recent Grads Can Get Noticed
1. Don’t go unpaid.
Times have changed and graduates can finally say goodbye to the days of unpaid internships. It is now illegal to work for any company without being paid.
2. There are plenty of jobs (if you know where to look).
There are currently 104,000 advertised jobs in South Africa and many of these could be ideal for graduates. Don’t let the fierce competition put you off, focus on keywords relevant to your job search and start applying.
3. More degrees, better jobs. Right?
Not exactly. Having more than one degree doesn’t guarantee that you’ll land a higher-paying job. Many companies are looking to hire undergraduates these days so don’t worry about doing a post-graduate unless there is a specific field such as medicine you want to specialise in.
4. Research your industry of choice.
Whether or not you have previous experience in your industry of choice there is no excuse not to do your research. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips and it’s your responsibility to absorb as much as possible. Research companies, news, awards, new developments and key players within the industry.
5. Keep your resume short and sweet.
Employers will not expect graduates to have a resume as impressive as someone who’s been working for 20 years. Focus on the experience you have and the transferable skills you bring to the role. Use real life examples of how these skills can be of value to your prospective employer.
6. Small doesn’t mean less.
Just because a company is small doesn’t mean it’s not mighty. Many of South Africa’s budding entrepreneurs and startup companies are a fantastic career opportunity for graduates.
7. Emphasize what you have.
When applying for a job, tell your employers what you can contribute to the company instead of saying why you really need it.
8. Revise a plan if it doesn’t work.
While it’s important to persevere with it comes to job search, you also have to recognise when your tactics are simply not working. Stop and rethink what you have been doing wrong and change your game plan.
9. No experience is pointless.
However minuscule your past experiences may be, if you relate them to how you can be a better employee and what they have taught you to contribute to the company, then they can be tools to possibly land that job.
10. Be human. Be yourself.
Graduates tend to be so stiff and robotic during applications that they don’t seem like humans anymore. Just be natural. Present yourself in the calmest and the most professional way that you can. You are not a member of decepticons, so don’t act like one.