The certificate, diploma or degree is in the bag. You’re officially qualified and ready for your first job. Well done! Now where do you start? Here are the basics and some tips that can assist you.

All the jobs in the world are right there on your laptop or device. You simply have to fire up your browser, type in the right search words and tap enter. 

As if! Here are so many options and resources, you might not know what to look for and which to pick. But with a little planning and lots of patience you can zoom in on tools that work for you.

It helps to know what you want to be now that you’re grown up. If you like a certain business, go directly to its website. That’s where you’ll find their latest list of vacancies. If there’s nothing, mail the HR department. Also see if one of your connections has a link to the company and can help you with an introduction.

Whether or not you know which industry you would like to be in, there are some great options out there.

A recruitment agency takes your details and sets up interviews for you. They get paid by the companies who use them – not by you. There are general agencies that focus on specific sectors, so pick what suits you best. Usually, you send in your CV to a recruitment agency, they call you in for an assessment and then notify you when a suitable offer pops up.

Job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor are online databases where you can post your CV and look for jobs. Recruiters and companies use it to search for candidates and to post jobs. On some boards you can apply directly – others direct you to an employer’s website. If you are looking in a specific field, find a job board that focuses on that industry.

Your school, college or university will have lots of material on careers and jobs. Even if it’s very general it might give you some insights.

No matter how you go about job hunting, you’ll need something good on paper.

The first thing an employer or recruiter sees is the cover letter. This starts with your details and what position you’re applying for – or what you’re interested in.

The point of this letter is to show that you’re the right person for the job. Say in just a few well-judged paragraphs what makes you a good choice for this post. Double-check the job ad to make sure you match the requirements.

An impressive CV looks professional. Use one of the fonts that came with your computer to make sure it doesn’t look different when opened on the other side. Don’t go over two pages, leave some space between sections and broad margins. Save it as .docx to ensure almost any version of Word will open it.

List items from latest to oldest and group under clear headings (experience, education). Use key words in your descriptions. Look on the company’s website for words they use or highlight often. Concentrate on what you achieved, not what your responsibilities were. If you can mention a result you received, that’s great!

If you speak more than one language, put it in there! It’s a prized skill that can be the clincher.

Studies reveal that volunteer work makes you 27% more employable. It shows you care and are aware of social issues. Volunteer work can also give you practical experience in many areas.

Volunteer work and social activities (clubs you belong to, for instance) are valuable for another reason. A Google study in 2013 found that the top seven attributes of a good employee were “soft skills” like communication, critical thinking and empathy. Jobs where outstanding social interaction is required are on the rise.

When you mail off your CV, don’t use a silly address like Create a work account with a professional address. Give info about social media profiles that are relevant to the job. Only add profiles like Twitter and Instagram if they have something the employer might be interested in.

Need help to create your CV? Download our template here!

The interviews will come, so prepare yourself. Scan the news headlines so you don’t look blank if an interviewer drops one about a current issue. Browse quality sites about your field to see what’s new and trending.

Once the interview is set up, do research. The more you know about the job and the company, the better. View their website to understand their future plans. It will impress if you are knowledgeable about the company.

Think what this specific employer is likely to ask. Write down your answers and try a practice interview with a friend.

On the day, dress the part. The company website will have pics, so see what people wear there. Arrive ten minutes early. That gives you time to sign in, find the right office and catch your breath. Getting there very early can look desperate and rushing in at the last minute seems disorganised. Have a notepad with what you want to ask in the interview (and for taking notes).

Make sure what you say is consistent with what you have on your CV. Answer to the point and don’t get sidetracked. What about the dreaded, “Where do you see yourself in a year from now?” Answer: "Working here, as a manager (just not the post of the person doing the interview), learning more every day." Show you want to be there, stay there, grow and improve yourself.

Have a realistic salary jotted down and wait until the end to ask about pay if it still hasn’t been mentioned.

Afterwards, send interviewers a short message thanking them for the meeting. Keep it simple and polite – it shows you appreciate the time they spent on you. Follow up in a week by calling the interviewer – a sign you’re really interested. Make sure you talk to the person who is hiring.

If you get a “no”, give a positive response such as: “Thank you for your time. If you do need someone in the future, please give me a call."

Jobs are scarce, competition is stiff. Don’t trawl job boards all day. Pick a set time to look, such as half an hour in the morning and in the afternoon. Meanwhile, brush up on a skill, read about your field, and take on a hobby. Get out and see people – it’s healthy and you might hear something useful.

Stay sane. Persevere. The job will come. And when it does, take this advice from Oprah Winfrey: "Your job is not always going to fulfill you. There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days, you may not feel like going to work at all. Go anyway…The number one lesson I can offer you is…to become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do that your talent cannot be dismissed.”

HOW TO JOB HUNT HOW TO JOB HUNT Reviewed by Jet Club on February 26, 2019 Rating: 5
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