Seven steps to landing your first job

So, you’ve just graduated – congratulations! You are probably excited to find that dream job, earn an income and put your skills and education to use. While landing your first job may feel overwhelming, don’t despair. Jake Willis, CEO of entry level recruitment company, Lulaway, provides some proven strategies on how to tackle the various challenges and succeed.

Create a winning CV
Don’t underestimate the importance of a great CV. Your CV is a representation of you and your achievements and presents an ideal opportunity to make a lasting impression. It is the first – and possibly last – encounter a potential employer has with you, so you need to make it count. Spend time on your CV to make it an excellent summary of who you are, highlighting your strengths and talents and what you are able offer the employer.

Your CV should be concise and not more than two pages long. While you may not have tons of work experience, be sure to showcase your successes. Promote your achievements in different contexts such as study, work or leisure, as well as any volunteer work or community projects you were involved in.

Ask an experienced friend or relative to help you and make sure that your spelling and grammar are absolute pitch-perfect. If you are planning to hand-deliver your CV, print out several copies, bind and place them in a plastic folder. Also remember to save an electronic version, ready to email as and when opportunities arise.

Ace that interview
If you are invited to attend a job interview, you need to ensure that you take it seriously. You are competing with dozens of other candidates and this is your one chance to make a lasting impact, emphasising your suitability for the role, your talents and potential. By arriving on time, you will demonstrate that you are reliable and committed. Dress professionally and remember to make – and keep – eye contact. It is advisable that you conduct in-depth research on the company to really stand out, especially when you ask intelligent, informed questions about the job at hand.

Research, research, research
The internet is your best friend. There are dozens of websites devoted to helping graduates like you find a job. Try some of the popular online job portals and classifieds sites, also consider recruiters like Lulaway who specialise in entry-level positions. Keep a look out for graduate programmes, learnerships and internships that are on offer. Register your CV and create an employment profile on every available website - it costs nothing and gives you maximum exposure. Sign up for alerts and updates and ensure you check the web every few days as new opportunities arise all the time.

Spread the word
Many people say that their jobs – especially first jobs – were found using personal connections. Now is not the time to be shy. Reach out to everyone and anyone you know who can connect you to employment opportunities.

This includes your friends, relatives, parents’ friends, classmates, church members and youth groups. If you have a connection, use it. Does your mom shop regularly at the store where you'd like to work? If so, have her mention that you'd be open to working there.

A great place to start is in your own community. Local stores and businesses often prefer to hire from within the community. Also keep in touch with your school or tertiary institution regularly as they are sometimes contacted by recruiters, training companies and employers looking for candidates with specific qualifications.

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