Finding your first job could be tricky but it doesn’t have to be that way. For some, it is easy but for many others, it could stretch into a frustrating experience. Do you know that your first job is very impactful to the kind of career or job(s) you will go on to have.
Many fresh graduates enter the job market very enthusiastic; only to learn that a university degree is not enough. To compete for available jobs, you need some level of experience but then, employers won’t give you a job because they want you to acquire experience. There is also the worry that “there are no jobs,” which brings us to the point where you realise that your degree from the university does not level up with demands in the job market.
The struggle to land your first job might appear to be a tough one to crack and can often lead to depression; especially if it lingers longer than necessary. However, this challenge can be surmounted if you act intentionally by doing things differently. If you have been searching for your first job for quite some time without any change in fortune, below are some likely reasons why you’re still unemployed
You Lack Experience and Skills
One of the many reasons why you haven’t found your first job is because you do not have the experience and skills to land one. As a fresh graduate, understand that employers, no matter how little or unimportant the job role might seem, seek to hire candidates who bring value to the table and can deliver on the job with minimal supervision.
To overcome this challenge, you must first understand that nobody owes you a job. The fact that you graduated from a university/polytechnic is not an automatic ticket to get hired by employers. You are supposed to provide value and get paid for it. However, when this value is non-existent, the only way up is to grow it. In this case, consider starting with internships, volunteer opportunities and up-skilling yourself via free and paid training. Remember that the training/courses can be online, offline or both. If you do not have a job, find a paid or free internship today to grow your chances of finding your first job.
You Are Rejecting Jobs
Many fresh graduates reject jobs for many reasons. Are you guilty of this? You might be rejecting jobs because they are not the kind of jobs you are looking. It could even be that you consider the job uncool. The truth is that in most cases, your first job doesn’t matter if you don’t leverage it to improve your experience and skill-set. Your first job doesn’t have to be the perfect job. The important thing is that it will give you an insight into workplace skills, job ownership, taking initiative and spotting career opportunities.
Your CV and Cover Letter
The issues of poorly written CVs and cover letters cannot be overemphasised. If you think that in 2018, with all the information on the internet about CV hacks that job seekers would have understood how to write their CVs and cover letters, you’re actually wrong.
From lies to spelling errors, unimportant skills, poorly organised CVs and cover letters, HR managers still complain about all these things. Hence, having a CV and cover letter that is well written and error-free will help you stand out from the pack.
Ask a professional in the field you are interested in to share pointers on how to write a CV. Alternatively, you can get a professional CV/Resume writer to help you get a CV that gets you ahead.
Professional Tip: Your cover letter should not be a dumping ground of the information on your CV/Resume. Make it personal, interesting, fun and short. Ensure it helps the recruiter look forward to reading your CV/Resume.
Poor Interview Skills
This might sound a bit harsh but but if a recruiter played back a video of your poor performance at a job interview, you would be shocked at how badly you performed.
Did you know that a lot of people usually panic at interviews? The way to beat this is for you to prepare ahead of time; research the job role, employer and make sure you are informed in order to put yourself in a position to nail the interview.
Not Networking and No Mentors
One other reason why you haven’t found your first job might be because you lack the right mentors and network of career professionals. Hence, there is no better time to network and find mentors than now. This is time to reach out to career people and mentors who can advise and guide you through the murky waters of developing the right skills for the workplace. They will motivate you to be your best and guide you to find that first job.
In a lot of cases, these professionals and mentors are aware of quite a number of job openings before they are advertised in newspapers or make it to job boards. In such cases, the share these opportunities with their mentee. Some go as far as recommending their mentee for such roles. This is something you can take advantage of and it starts with finding a mentor.
You can also reach out to people in your local religious group or organisations, peer or social group, social media and professional online networks.
Professional Tip: Make connections; when seeking mentors or professionals, don’t find only those who have decades of experience. Anyone who is intentional, positive minded, has a couple years experience to their belt and interested in you can mentor you.
Not Enough Jobs
There are not enough jobs to go round. This might be an element of truth in this due to the country’s large population as well as the constant large churn out of graduates. The truth, however, is that many employers insist they have job openings but what is lacking are skilled candidates to fill the roles they need to hire for. If you are searching for your first job; regardless of the school of thoughts you belong to, what will aid your process is to focus on developing your skills and finding the right opportunities to grow your experience to land that job.
Final Thoughts On First Job
Whether you are a fresh graduate or you have been searching for a while, you need to be aware of the fact that you need to be book-smart and street-smart to succeed out there when hunting for your first job. Expand your reach, expand the channels where you are searching and applying for jobs and don’t lose hope. It’s alright if you have to start afresh so long as you are better informed.