In recent months I have seen regular posts on LinkedIn from alumni who are eager but also desperate for a first job. The lack of work experience appears to play tricks on them in the hunt for their first contract. In my inbox I regularly find the followingquestions: “How do I do this?”, “What am I doing wrong?”, “How did this go for you?” and especially ‘What advice can you give me?’. I am not going to say that I am an expert in selections, I am not a recruiter. Anyway… after having already completed several hundred selection interviews as a manager, I know what I pay attention to in a conversation, what convinces me or what preparation I expect from a professional. Feel free to scroll and shop through what’s coming in this Thrive Global Contribution.
When you think about your starting job, what industry do you find yourself in? Which sectors stimulate you and why? Suppose you aim for the job as a ‘planner’, can you perform this position in any company? How can employers distinguish themselves for you?
Do you only look at the position or also at the support that an employer offers? Are you resolutely going for an employer that invests in talent by offering regular training, which surrounds employees with a high-quality HR service? By thinking about this, you can already apply a first filter in the job list and at the same time take the step to the next advice.
You find a vacancy that inspires, that makes you eager. Nice! Allow yourself to think about how you would fill this position. What would the average working day look like? What are your priority tasks and assignments? Which interpretation are you going to give to this? Feel free to think about the possible challenges or obstacles along that path. How would you battle them? There is nothing more powerful than meeting an applicant who knows what she/he can do as an employee in your company.
What’s your added value in the position you aspire to? With which competences can you already make a difference? Definitely make this concrete. During a selection interview, you have about half an hour to sell yourself, then it is best to leave out vague words and immediately set the tone with concrete success stories. The STAR method can be your guide. Do not forget to pay extra attention to the fourth step: reflection. What result have you achieved? What impact could you make? What did you like about your approach? What could you possibly do differently next time? Include your conversation partner in your story.
Undoubtedly, it will be polled to your rough edges. Think about this carefully in advance. What can your future team and manager help you with in your growth path as a professional?
If you have already had a few selection interviews without the desired result, then I challenge you to take a critical look at those rounds and to take a closer look at the feedback you received from the recruiter. What did they collide with in terms of competencies that prevented you from getting the job? In this way you reduce your blind spot and enable yourself to take the helm. Suppose that these competencies are really essential in the position that you aspire to, it is always an option to look for such positions in a junior profile. This way you can gain experience necessary for the job of your dreams.
Your own network
You probably have your own network of professionals (think of the employers at your internship , your professors at uni, employees selected on the basis of your desired sector list on LinkedIn,…). Involving them in your quest can be an interesting move. Of course you take the lead (they will not conjure up a job for you), but feel free to ask them if they have any interesting vacancies. Make your ‘question’ concrete: stay away from vague concepts such as ‘something in logistics / communication / marketing’. Those concepts are too broad, you run the risk that others will give their own interpretation that does not correspond to your own wishes.
Finally, the preconditions
So, now you have a better idea of the professional path that you aspire to. Ask yourself these last questions: which preconditions are important? How many work kilometers do you want to cover? What about working from home? Is your paycheck very important to you or is it the investment in your growth what you’re really after in your first job?
Let’s all think for a moment that everyone once took the step to the first job and could count on that particular manager who believed in the person in front of them. Good luck!!