Congratulations! You are almost in the real world. You’re close to finishing school and are looking to enter the work force. You will finally be able to eat more than Ramen noodles. But wait, you need to find a real job!
If you’ve followed Career Strategy 1; What do you want to be when you grow up, you already know what you want to be. Now you just need to develop the skills to get there. Your career strategy is a long game. Every choice needs to be made with the future in mind. So what is your strategy for your first job?
- Secure and leverage an internship
- Focus on entry level jobs
- Follow the general job search strategy
- Sell your skills
- Take a position that prepares you for your next role
Internships are the key to getting your first job. Paid internships are great, but any internship will do; preferably an internship in an area that you like, as this will be your only work experience going into the job market.
Start looking in November of your Junior Year. Any search engine will work.
Also, talk to people you know already in industry. Often companies are more willing to take a risk fo an internship because they don’t lose much if it doesn’t work out.
Entry Level Jobs
Missed out on the internship? Don’t worry. It makes this step a little harder, but you have a lot to offer, so you’ll be fine.
Just coming out of school, I thought I was awesome. I excelled in school, and had a degree in economics. Who wouldn’t want to hire me? Unfortunately, I didn’t actually have any work experience. Take this as a lesson. You don’t know everything you think you know. You may have been the big man on campus, but you are going to have to be humble and prove your worth again.
Your job search should look for entry level positions. You can actually just type “Entry level” in a search engine, (Indeed.com) and thousands of jobs will show up. Use your degree as a search term to narrow it down. Also use your skill list as search terms.
Job Search Strategy
Read the Job Search Strategy post.
Even though you don’t have any experience yet. You have a lot to offer. You are passionate, bright, and willing to work hard to learn what you need to. Make this come out in your interviews. Let them feel your excitement.
Talk about your skills and what you can do to add value. They know that you don’t have management experience, but have you ever mentored anyone? They know you haven’t presented to leadership teams, but have you confidently presented in front of an audience? Try to tie your experiences to the skills they are looking for.
Choosing a Role
Eventually, you’ll get an offer. Great job! Before taking the role, take an assessment of what it offers you. Your first job doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be adding something to your career. Figure out if it is a step that will get you closer to your dream goal.
You deserve to have your dreams come true, but you’ll just have to work to get it.