I’ve been working full time at my first real job for almost a month now; I’m a social media executive at a marketing agency. Not an intern, an actual executive! *gasp* I know, it hit me today in a meeting with one of the big clients we work with “am I really sitting in this meeting?“ 2 months ago I was in the library…procrastinating on my essays – sudden feeling of being grown up. I definitely love it. The pressure is definitely on as I’ve been handed important accounts to work on. I’ve been blessed with this wonderful opportunity and there is no way I’m going to lose it. I wanted to pass on some knowledge on how to get that first job, it’s not an easy process as many of you know already. With unemployed graduates at an all time high – your competition is fierce. So what did I have to do to land this role? Hop on after the cut.
First and foremost, you need to know what kind of job you want. A lot of my friends who are looking for jobs don’t actually know what they want to do. I don’t get how that works? You moan about being unemployed but yet you don’t know what you WANT to do?
Pick up a pen and paper (no textedit or Microsoft word won’t suffice) – note down your interests, your goals (where you want to be/what you need to accomplish in the next 5 years) and what barriers you face. I won’t share mine, best to keep them to yourself and people you trust. You’d be surprised by how many jealous dream killing folks there are out there watching on the internet.
It’s not going to be easy figuring out what you want to do. There is no point doing something that you don’t love, there won’t be any direct career progression if that’s the case. Confucius once said find something you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life. Too true, it won’t feel like work – it’ll be a happy process. Honestly there is no point apply for graduate jobs and internships if your heart isn’t in it. You’ll end up complaining the same way you would at a retail job (no offence to those who work in retail!).
Now that you know what you want to do. What’s next? Get your CV done. I can only advise you on media industry jobs as that’s the industry I’m in. All you creative graduates, add some of that creative flair to your CV. Mine looks a bit like this site with the photograph on either side. Make sure you’re 100% honest, well I was and it paid off. I tried to steer clear of the generic; ‘I’m a graduate blah blah, I’m keen to…’. Make sure you include your side projects in your cv, whether it be worship leading at church, helping out in your parents business and in my case, Yin&Yang. I’m blessed to have the site as my platform, it’s my CV. I’ve dedicated a big chunk of my CV to the site + the duties I undertake by being editor of it. Employers love to see that you’ve created a platform for yourself and its very much a big part of the reason I have this job.
So newly graduates, I’m not telling you to create a blog – just make use of that unused creativity and invest it in a venture of some sort. It’ll pay off even if it doesn’t pay in £££. Running a daily updated blog tells people about your dedication, drive and passion. Like with any side project, if they see you put all that into it – they will give you an opportunity to use all that dedication, drive and passion in a job you enjoy and get paid for.
First things first with the current economic slump and job shortage – you need experience. People are working a lot harder for less pay. Unpaid internships in the industry you want to enter are the way forward – yes you read that right. UNPAID. You have to do what you need to do and if that means sacrificing earning money to gain knowledge and experience then so be it. Even if you get a 1st class honours at university, it doesn’t mean you’re going to walk straight into a job. Times have changed; you need to acquire the experience, make contacts in the industry and then proceed with the job hunt. It’s not going to be easy but you’re in your early 20s. No wife and kids to support, it’s the best time to dedicate as much time as possible to developing your career without having any big worries. DO YOU. I’m not saying give up on relationships as your relationships will always be more important than your job, remember that. I interned last summer; if you want to read my posts from that saga of my life – click here. I really hope this post helps someone out there and if you have any questions/want to talk to me – feel free to tweet me @Niran7 or add on Facebook – Niran Vinod.
P.S. I should make this clear ‘by any questions/want to talk to me’ – I mean advice and strictly advice. I cannot provide you with jobs or internships.
Good luck with the job hunt.