It can be pretty exciting and downright scary when you apply for your first professional role. You may have already applied for vacation or part-time jobs to help pay your way through your education, but now you are ready to take on your first career making role. So, what do you need to do when applying for that first role?
Unfortunately, many new graduates take the line of just putting together a resume and then sending the resume off to as many job opportunities as possible. Whilst this may lead to a job offer, it is far better to put some thought, effort and planning into the process. The process outlined below is one that may help to improve your chances of a meaningful success.
One of the first things you need to do is to ask yourself:
- Why do you would want this role?
It’s a good idea to ask yourself the question: “Why do you want this role?” before applying for any role. There is absolutely no point in applying for roles that you don’t really want – some graduates do this, applying for every role they see, in a scatter gun approach, hoping that they will land at least one role. If you do it too often you just get a reputation as a serial applicant. You are far better being selective and only apply for those roles that will point the way for the career you really want to develop. Think about what you want and ask questions of people already in these careers, do some investigation, regard the process as a project and do some planning.
Next it is a good idea to find out:
- What people typically do in this type of role?
It is one thing to think that you want to be an astronaut, but for many jobs the reality is different to that of the outsider’s expectation. So, it really is a good idea to do some checking with people who are already working in the kind of role that you aspire to ensure that it really is your thing. In addition, the process of learning about a role will be also beneficial when you come to a job interview, you will know what it takes to do the role and this is likely to impress the interviewer.
Now that you know what the role is about, the next thing to do is to:
- Research the employer.
Employers vary greatly, in particular in their organisational culture. It really is a good idea to get a handle on what an organisation is like culturally as well as just knowing the nature of its business.
In addition, knowing about your potential future employer will impress your interviewer when you are interviewed. Few candidates bother to learn anything about their potential employer, so just doing some research will put you ahead of the pack.
Having researched your potential employer and decided that they are people you could work for; it is time to put down on paper:
- What do you bring to the role? – Put it down in a cover letter.
A good thing to do whenever you apply for a role is to carefully craft a cover letter that introduces you to a potential employer; it is also an opportunity for you to address the key criteria in a role. And the process of doing a cover letter and answering the key criteria will also alert you to whether you are at all suitable for the role in terms of your experience and qualifications. It is good discipline to do a new cover letter for each new role that you apply for.
Now that you have put together a great cover letter, you need to back your application with a brief and to the point Resume (sometimes also referred to as a C.V.) that supports your contention that you are the ideal person for this role. So, you need to:
- Put together a resume of 2 – 3 pages.
A resume should list:
- You name,
- Contact details,
- Education , (Academic)
- Training, (Vocational)
- Plus a list of your work experience that should not extend to anymore than 2 pages if you are a recent graduate. Your most recent experience should come first with earlier experience following in order.
Some people also like to put a Career Objective statement at the beginning of their resume, this is entirely optional.
Much of the process of breaking into the workplace successfully is asking questions, seeking answers and planning and the more you do, the greater will be your “luck’ in landing that perfect first role.