The Unconventional Guide to Landing Your First Job



Are you sick and tired of getting rejected due to "lack of experience" or even worst not receiving a response at all? Sadly for many undergraduates this is the reality and is why I have created "The Unconventional Guide to Landing Your First Job" article. This article will dive deep into how to stand out and maximise your chances of getting the role right for you. STEP 1: GAIN CLARITY ON WHERE YOU WANT TO BE IN THE FUTURE Before you start looking for jobs, you must spend time thinking about the types of roles that interest you and where you want to be within your career in the next 5-10 years. It is essential to do your research and think about this because if you do not, it will impact where you end up within your career. One of the most helpful ways to gain clarity on your career goals is to find and speak with people who are doing the roles you want to do. This way, you are not having to guess what it would be like and can get real first-hand experience if the position is right for you. Action:

  1. Visit job board websites such as Seek, Indeed, and LinkedIn to help you find roles that would interest you. I love this process because it allows you to discover positions you would have never imagined would interest you. This process is also an excellent opportunity to look for roles you want to be in the future and understand what skills and experience you need to build.

  2. Speak with people who are already where you want to be. Often we may have a perception of what it is to work for a particular organisation or a role, but the reality is usually very different. An excellent way to know if the roles you are interested in are the right fit for you is to speak with people who are doing what you want to be doing. It will save you the painful experience of going after a goal only to find out it is not what you expected. One of the easy ways to find people who are already where you want to be is via LinkedIn search.

  3. Lastly, it is fine not to have 100% clarity on where you want to be long term or if your long term career goal changes over time. In life, what we want evolves consistently, and it expected our career goals would change accordingly.



STEP 2: HAVE CLARITY ON WHAT YOU BRING TO THE TABLE Once you have a clarity on the types of roles you would be interested in; start developing what value you can bring to the table with evidence for prospective employers. It is essential to have clarity and evidence on what you bring to the table to help you stand out and negotiate if needed. Action:

  1. Read the job descriptions of the roles that interest you to identify what skills sets and experiences hiring managers would find valuable.

  2. Build a cheat sheet you can use in the future to highlight what you can bring to the table aligned with what hiring managers would find valuable.



STEP 3: SHARE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR Once you are clear on the role you want and the value you bring to an organisation, it is time to let as many people know as possible. It is essential to do this for two reasons:

  • Majority of the jobs are often not posted on job boards,

  • Research by Prof Wiseman who wrote The Luck Factor found that lucky people maximise chance opportunities by being open to new experiences and taking control of the situation.

Ideas include industry networking events, LinkedIn networking, physically handing resumes, and letting everyone in your network know you are looking for opportunities. Action:

  1. Set a goal for yourself using the SMART goal setting method to let a certain amount of people know about the opportunities you are looking for.



STEP 4: UNDERSTAND EMPLOYER'S NEEDS When you get to the interview stage, the most important thing you need to do is to learn what are the employers' needs and challenges. When you understand the employers' needs and challenges, you able to identify if the role is the right fit for you along with being able to highlight how you can help the organisation. Action:

  1. Build a list of questions before the interview to understand their culture, the reason they are hiring, who the direct report would be, and what type of person they are seeking.

  2. Make sure you to highlight what you bring to the table aligned with what is important to the hiring manager.

  3. Remember the interview stage is about you finding the right role for you as much as it is about the employer finding the right candidate.



STEP 5: PERSISTENCE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE: In your journey, there are going to be many ups and downs, including times where you want to give up. You must remember persistence and continuous improvement is what is going to separate you from landing your dream job vs not landing your dream job.


BONUS: DEVELOP YOUR TECHNICAL AND SOFT SKILLS Continually developing your skills is one of the most critical things you can do both in your professional and personal life. In today's environment, this should be easy with the vast resources available from free e-learning platforms courses like Coursera.


CONCLUSION: In conclusion, for many students and fresh graduates, landing your first dream job can be very both exciting and challenging. Unfortunately, the sad truth is many are accepting the first role they get offered vs thinking strategically about their career path. I hope the five steps provide clarity on the types of roles best suited for you and strategies that will help you land your dream job.