Almost every university graduate faces the same issues when searching for a first job: How do you demonstrate you possess the necessary qualifications for a job when you haven't had a "real job" before? With more and more people returning from overseas with both foreign degrees AND work experience, coming into an interview and announcing you are a fresh inexperienced graduate is no longer acceptable. In fact, stating you have no real skills and training in this age of more people than jobs is no longer acceptable or pleasing to most employees. As unfair as this sounds, it is our present reality. However like everything else in life there is a way round this situation and here's how you do it:
· Drop the ridiculous email address: having the email address email@example.com might work in uni or high school but not in the job market. If you have to, open a new email address and keep it simple. For example my first out of school email address was firstname.lastname@example.org (combination of my first name and first letter of my surname) it looked professional then and it still looks professional now.
· Drop the objective statement: Most objective statements ("Go-getter seeking sales position") say more about what a job seeker hopes for in a job than why that person would be a good fit for the position. So ditch the objective statement and create a summary section instead. It's a brief rundown of your skills and qualifications, targeted to the company and opening. For example: "Economics graduate with experience gained through internship with a reputable PR firm. Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, including expertise in Excel."
· Create a combination CV: Instead of submitting a traditional chronological CV, consider a combination CV. This format allows you to place more focus on your professional skills by grouping them near the top of your document. You might, for example, have a section titled "Computer Skills" or one called "Supervisory Experience." Don't limit yourself to abilities you've honed through full- or part-time jobs. Skills you've gained through internships, volunteer work, or even clubs or social committees can be just as relevant.
· Focus on transferable skills: Think the years you spent waiting tables, helping in your mother’s company, working in your dad’s firm, or volunteering in an uncle’s ICT firm won't help you land a job? Think again. This experience may have prepared you for your career better than you realize. If you supervised some other staff members, for example, you have managerial experience to add to your CV. You could also highlight your strong customer service and communication skills. Almost every employer values these abilities. #freetip: provided you are not losing money, take advantage of each and every volunteer and paid work experiences that come your way. HR and Management are always on the lookout for value adders not value reducers. A fresh graduate with relevant skills will almost always get a job over someone with more years of “irrelevant” work experience.
· Include keywords: You can increase your chances of getting an interview if you look at the job listing and use words or phrases from it in your own CV. Use these keywords to describe skills you possess -- as long as they are accurate, of course.
· Create a LinkedIn profile: creating a profile on LinkedIn or a similar professional networking site may help in your search for employment. Many hiring managers and recruiters search sites such as LinkedIn to find job candidates -- and the trend is growing.
Take the time to create a quality document that shines a light on your most marketable skills and experience, and you'll give yourself the best shot at landing an interview and, ultimately, your dream job.