1) Get a job you are passionate about
Research shows if you hate your job you will not last long in that position. The best companies are not going to keep someone in a role when its clear they are not enjoying themselves. When you are passionate about your job you work harder and longer and achieve more. You need to be on the path to find your dream job in London.
2) Make a big impact fast
Make an impact in a company quickly and you will soon be in a position for promotion. Ensure you master your role soon after joining. Once you are trusted you will be given more responsibilities. You can also test the quality of your employer by demanding more challenging work and higher pay.
3) Take risks early
No risk, no reward. By not jumping ship you wont know if you can swim! By taking risks, you will always be learning. There is no such thing as a negative experience. Fear is the biggest crusher of dreams. Staying in one job too long is more damaging that staying in a job for a short period.
4) Experience is everything
Can’t get your dream job and been looking for months? Get a job fast! Lacking experience on your CV? Look for ways to gain work experience in your holidays. If you are a recent graduate just relying on education will not get you far. Consider volunteer work in the short term just to get some meat on your CV. Even if you consider yourself over qualified for a role – take it anyway. At this stage its about quantity not quality. Early on in your career its difficult to discover your passions. By moving quickly from one short assignment to another you will gain valuable learning’s regarding your strengths and weakness. Remember you want to fill your CV with verbs –action words such as; Managed, Organised, Coordinated, Collaborated and Reviewed.
5) Part time is better than no time
Keep an open mind when job hunting. Look for alternative routes into your chosen profession. Starting at the bottom and being prepared to work your way up will give you valuable perspective on the detail of the industry you have chosen. The reason so many managers appear clueless is they started too high up and never gained experience at the bottom of the ladder.
6) Beware of the gap between theory and reality
Will your first job be the job you hold for your whole life. That’s extremely unlikely. The average person changes career 3 times during their lifetime. Your first job is just the beginning of your career journey. Early on in your career its more important to eliminate what you don’t like as much as finding what you do like. By moving job frequently you broaden your skills and importantly, discover what you definitely want to avoid in future roles. So make a start, somewhere, anywhere!
7) Keep your online persona clean
In the era of social media. Its easier than ever for an employer to research more about you. Think they wont bother? Think again. Ensure the privacy settings on your Facebook and Twitter accounts prevent anonymous users from viewing those embarrassing photos of you drunk at your birthday party!
8) Target smaller companies
Having a big name company on your CV is worth its weight in gold. The challenge when you are just starting out is these big companies will be targeted by every graduate. Smaller companies have less budget to spend on recruitment so will be harder to find. However the competition will be greatly reduced. Do not be afraid to speculatively approach a small company direct through its website. Bear in mind most companies will use recruitment companies to recruit new staff. These companies are expensive so a small company will be looking favourably on a applicant like you that they can hire and not pay fees. Remember it will be a numbers game. You may need to apply to 200- 300 or more companies – so do not be discouraged by rejection.
While the government attempted to ban unpaid internships. Some industries are still getting away with offering unpaid internships. Being in work will make it easier to get a paid role than being out of work. Sitting at home unemployed makes you seem undesirable to a new employer. In their mind they will think “If nobody else wants this person – why should I take them?” You can still look for paid work during your internship. Then if a paid role is offered – you have a bargaining chip to take to your boss at the internship.
10) Stand out from the rest
Recruiters will get dozens of applications from graduates just like you. How can you stand out from the crowd? Give examples on your CV of where you have been a leader or organizer. Were you captain of a football team? Did you help to organize events at university? During your spare time try and engage in activities that are related to your career. If you want to get into the fitness industry then an employer would expect to see a range of sporting activities listed. But go above and beyond just ‘going to the gym’. Do you help lead fitness classes? Offer private fitness coaching? Even if you have no clients you can still advertise your services to friends and family. This shows you have more desire for success than a similar candidate.
11) Find mentors
The fastest route to success is to emulate someone who is where you want to be today. A mentor should be someone who is 5, 10 or even 20 years ahead of you. Its not always easy to find a mentor but when given the opportunity to work with someone who is successful and experienced in your industry you must take it. Offer to work for them for free if necessary as there is no substitute to learning first hand from the best.
12) Get your own website
Its amazing how often you see writers wanting a career in writing but they don’t even have their own blog. You can create a blog for free so there is no cost barrier. Nothing will propel you to the front of the application list than to have a blog on your chosen industry. Not only will it impress future employers but from the research and writing required to create the blog you will acquire knowledge above and beyond that of 95% of others applying for the same job as you. Even if you only posted one blog a week. Within 6 months you would already have an impressive amount of content online.
13) Travel with purpose
Business today is global. If you get the chance to visit another country – even just for a holiday – go beyond just the clichéd tourist attractions. Really make an effort to understand the culture and basic language of the country you are visiting. This shows you have desire to be an above average candidate. You never know who is interviewing you in future. Even mastering 20 basic phrases of a different language is enough to impress most interviewers.
14) Be patient
Your dream role may not be attainable in the short term. You need to focus on building up the skills and experience needed today to land that amazing position tomorrow. Keep your goals in mind and remind yourself nothing is forever. Its better to wait to find a new opportunity than to quit and be unemployed. That never looks good on your CV.
15) Work on your communication skills
Being great on paper is useless if you have poor interpersonal skills. Often someone with less qualifications but better soft skills will land a role in front of someone with greater skill but weak communication. Both hobbies and work experience can provide opportunities to grow those all important communication abilities. Acting, comedy even charity work can give you invaluable opportunity to gain confidence in your presentation skills.
16) Craft your elevator pitch
Verbosity kills credibility. In other words the more succinct you are the better you will be perceived by an employer. You need to able to summarise your key skills and qualities in 30 seconds. You never know when an opportunity may come. It is better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. If you cannot describe your strengths quickly and clearly then you will struggle to sell yourself.
17) Build your success portfolio
Think of your life as an art gallery not a warehouse. An employer doesn’t want to know every single piece of information about your past. They want a short summary. You will be asked to give examples of where you applied your skills for an employer. You want to be able to demonstrate through the use of positive stories. Rather than ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that’ you want to use the STAR principle. Situation Task, Action and Result. The Result is as important as the Action. An employer wants to be assured when you are involved in a project the project is a success! Create a list of 5 projects or situations where you had a big influence on a positive end result.
18) Be sociable
The social side of business is massive. Especially for industries such as sales and marketing. The best type of hire is a referral. A referral is the best way to hire someone as it eliminates the middle man – a recruiter – but more importantly if somebody recommends you that eliminates all the competition. A recruiting manager will always take the word of a trusted colleague over a CV. Are there meet up groups for your chosen profession you can attend? Remember a bad product marketed hard will often out perform a good product marketed badly. If you know you are a great product, don’t let yourself be ‘out marketed’!
19) Be prepared to grind
The start of a career is the hardest time of all. Why? Because you need experience to get a job but need a job to get experience. A catch 22 situation. You will have to put more effort into your job search now than at any other time in your life. Don’t be surprised if you have to apply for hundreds of jobs. Yes that’s hundreds of jobs! Those succeed are not necessarily the best candidates but the individuals that have made the most applications. Now is not the time to be lazy or cut corners. Your full-time job is to get a job. If that means spending 8 hours a day 5 days a week searching and applying than so be it.
20) Build commercial awareness
Missing in many graduates is commercial awareness or business acumen. You need to quickly get to grips with how a particular industry works from back to front. If you do not you will come across naïve in an interview and the company will think they will need to hold your hand and mentor you longer than another candidate. You need to show you have an understanding of what the company wants to achieve via its products and services. In addition, research the organization’s competition and memorise examples of the big players strengths and weaknesses in your industry. This shows you will be a valuable asset to the team if you were hired.
21) Develop skills most relevant to your career
Every job will have a specific set of skills required that makes it unique from other roles. For example in sales presentation skills are critically important. Always be aware of your weaknesses and make efforts to improve on them. If there are major gaps in your skillset take action now to over come them in your free time. Being well rounded will avoid you being found out in an interview and even worse on your first day in your new job.