So it’s time to enter the world of work; you are feeling excited, apprehensive, motivated and hopeful, all at once. Everyone has been in this position before; even the most successful people in the world, all began their employment journeys, in a position not far from where you are now, and they probably felt much the same as you do.
There is plenty of time ahead for you to become accustomed to how the world of employment works, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from a few words of advice and a guiding hand.
At The Employable we have been racking our brains to come up with a list of the top tips that we wish we had known when we were in your position.
This is what we came up with:
Experience is king
We live in a society that is rather obsessed with education; to the extent that it can appear to be the holy grail of leading a happy and successful life. Whilst of course education is a crucial element in the development of your career, it is usually only enough to get you onto the first rung of the career ladder; the rest is up to you.
A certain minimum standard of education is usually required for a particular role, but beyond this point, professional experience will normally take precedence over further educational qualifications. Understanding that experience is such a valuable asset will help you to manage your expectations about the level of employment that you can achieve at this stage of your career.
We don’t mean to say that you should aim low, but it is important to realise that education doesn’t necessarily translate into skills that are transferable to the workplace.
If you are a graduate there are a number of ways that you can gain some valuable exerience
There’s always something that you could be doing to improve your employability
Just because you are unemployed doesn’t mean that you need to stagnate, now is the time to keep on the ball, continue improving your employability and show prospective employers that you are serious about constantly improving your skills and attributes.
Volunteering, work experience, and other programmes are a great way to improve skills and demonstrate motivation, but they are also very useful in providing structure to your day whilst you are unemployed. One of the big dangers of being unemployed is the loss of motivation and the growth of what we call the ‘job search blues’; filling your days productively will help to ensure you remain engaged with your self improvement and prevent such a situation from occurring.
Whilst it is of course no crime to be unemployed, and indeed the odd stint of unemployment is to be expected over the course of your career, the longer they carry on the more of an issue they become.
You will often hear the phrase ‘It’s easier to get a job if you already have a job’ and whilst we wouldn’t necessarily agree with this standpoint, we do think that if you are out of work for a long period it can become more difficult to readjust to the world of work again once you do get a job. In addition, large gaps on your CV will need to be explained to prospective employers for years to come and so are best avoided.
For these reasons, there may be times in your career that you feel obliged to accept a role that you don’t think is well suited to your long term career plan. Always remember that just because you are working in a particular role, doesn’t mean that your are ‘stuck’ there forever; regardless of how irrelevant you think it is, there will always be useful skills that you can gain, and if you work hard you will be able to add a useful referee to future job applications.
When you stand in the position of someone with no previous work experience, climbing the career ladder can appear like an impossible challenge- we know that’s how we felt when we were in your position. But again you need to remember that even those at the very top were once in your position at the bottom.
In employment (and indeed life) there is no substitute for hard work and dedication, apply them and you will find yourself moving up the ladder before you know it.
Hopefully you have found these tips for first time job seekers useful. You might also like to have a nosy at some of these recent articles.
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