Whether you’re looking for your first job after graduation or want to make a career change, it’s important to be smart in your job hunt.
With plenty of other candidates working against you, it is a competitive job landscape; hundreds or even thousands of other people are vying for each available job. This means the job search can be long and stressful.
As a result, it helps to take steps to get in front of your competitors. A good way to do this is to find ways to get access to job openings before they even become public knowledge. To get to the front of the line for new roles, read on for some strategies to implement today.
One of the best things you can do is build relationships with recruiters and potential employers as soon as possible. Before you’re desperate for a job, start getting to know key people within prime organisations, so when a new position opens up, they immediately think of and contact you.
There are numerous ways to go about getting to know these contacts. One is attending industry events. Networking dinners, business lunches, conferences, trade shows and the like can be places where you introduce yourself to decision-makers. Don’t go in for the hard sell; instead, just chat generally and let people know your background, experience and interests.
Another important step is networking on social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Being active on these will enable you to get to know who’s who in the industry and what each person is in charge of. While you might actually hear about job openings via online posts, which is handy, you will also be able to use the sites to build relationships. By having genuine interactions online, and contributing when you have something to say, you can end up on decision-makers’ radar.
Social media sites are beneficial in that they give you an outlet to showcase your expertise in your field, too. By posting about relevant topics, you’ll demonstrate knowledge and build a personal brand that’s sure to attract attention from the right people. Eventually, they might come to you directly with job opportunities.
Get work experience
Next, keep in mind that you can also find out about and land jobs before they’re advertised by working within companies. Usually, employees throughout an organisation know first when a new position is about to open up, so you should strive to get inside a company - perhaps through internship.
If you’re currently finishing your degree, you will likely be able to arrange internships as part of programme. Many top CACREP-accredited online programmes, as well as courses in other fields, are opportune because they include work placements and other career support such as introductions to employees, through which you may be able to line up casual work experience or more structured internships.
If you find ways to impress the people you work with during these internships (through being professional, taking initiative and being good at your tasks), you might actually be invited to apply for a more permanent role. Even if what comes up is only a casual position, this can still lead to full-time work eventually and be an excellent “in.”
Outside of university and related studies, you can also volunteer your time for work experience in companies. By contacting firms you’d love to work at and offering to give up a week, fortnight, month or more of your time to work in-house for free, you’ll put yourself in a good position.
Although you typically won’t get paid anything, you will learn a lot of incredibly helpful information about the company, its products or services, staff members, processes and the like. You’ll also have the chance to be noticed by hiring managers and, even if no jobs are available at the time you’re leaving, still be front-of-mind (and already trained up, which is a big plus) should a role open in the future.
Make sure you’re proactive, too. For example, send your resume off to the companies you want to work for, even if they don’t have any positions advertised at the moment. Most firms like this kind of initiative; plus, they may be thinking about hiring someone new at the time, even if they haven’t made the role public knowledge, and could give you the chance to interview for the position because you’re saving them time.
Another good way to be proactive is to let all your family, friends and colleagues (where appropriate) know that you’re looking for a new job. You never know who they might be in touch with who is looking for a worker in your field.
Tiffany Rowe is the Marketing Administrator at Seek Visibility.