Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
The fact that you’re reading this post means that you’ve just finished your studies and now you’re looking for your first big job. Brace yourself as this is going to be one of the most exciting and, at the same time, most frustrating moments in your career.
Firstly, everyone – from your parents, friends, classmates to your neighbors, and professors – is watching you right now and setting their expectations.
Secondly, competition is harsh. According to BeHiring, there are more than 250 resumes received for every job position. In other words, getting yourself noticed is a tedious task, especially if you’re competing with the candidates with impressively long CVs and years of working experience.
This leads us to the contradictory expectations of an employer. On one hand, they are looking for ambitious, under-30 people and, on the other – they expect them to have a fruitful employment history. So, even if you prove to be a good fit for their company, they might decide to hire someone more experienced.
Still, this doesn’t mean you should cry yourself to sleep repeating how unfair life is. You need to work on your career from day one, even if this means investing a bit more effort or stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Here are a few tips that can really help you.
Step #1: Polish up your resume
Your resume is basically your first interaction with your potential employer and it needs to be impeccable. Otherwise, it will be thrown away. Research shows that the first applications arrive 200 seconds after the job is posted. As they will keep piling up at an astonishing pace, recruiters don’t have time to read them carefully. Instead, it takes them approximately 6 seconds to skim through your CV and see whether it is worth their time. That’s why it’s important you understand how a recruiter assesses your resume. They will first look at your name, education, and work history.
Start with a powerful summary that will intrigue a recruiter and make them think of you as a good fit. Then, based on what you’ve learned from the job description, list all the courses and school projects that may be relevant to the recruiter. If you volunteered or done an internship, make that count. Don’t forget to emphasize your soft skills as they’re usually as valuable to a recruiter as your working experience.
Here is what you should also keep in mind when making your resume:
- Read the job description carefully, see what types of candidates a company is looking for, and tailor your CV to their expectations
- Remove your photo. Serious recruiters don’t want to make their decisions based on a candidate’s physical appearance
- Make sure your email is professional. Namely, 76% of CVs get ignored if the email address they’re sent from is inappropriate
- Check your grammar and spelling to show you’re taking the job seriously
- You need to add lots of data to a quite limited space, so your every word needs to earn its place and be relevant
Step #2: Build a strong online image
We at Domain.me often emphasize the importance of building a personal brand. In our startup stories section, we’ve already introduced you to prosperous freelancers, influencers, and entrepreneurs like Daniel Tay, Michelle Nickolaisen, Sazan Hendrix, and Christian Broderick, who saw the potential in building strong online presence and used it to rise above the competition.
That’s exactly what you should do.
Personalize your LinkedIn account
This is the leading professional social network and, as such, it can help you get noticed by the right people. You can even consider it as a digital form of your CV, given the fact that 20.000 U.S. companies use it to connect with potential candidates. Still, unlike a regular resume where you just make a list of your skills and experiences, LinkedIn lets you “humanize” your online presence.
- Have a professional-looking photo. LinkedIn profiles with a photo receive 21 times more views and 36 times more messages
- Write a catchy summary to improve your chances of getting noticed
- List all relevant skills and work of gaining relevant endorsements to boost your visibility
- Connect with the people you don’t know yet, but still, mind the relevance of your connections. Instead of forcefully growing the number of connections, focus on building and nurturing relationships with the people in the industries relevant to yours. Hanging out with the guys who have confused LinkedIn with Instagram or Tinder may hurt your online image
- Get social. Engage your connections by sharing industry-relevant posts and liking/ commenting on your connections’ activities. Personalize your invitations to connect. Instead of boring “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” add a personal touch to your invitation and emphasize why you would like to get in touch with them
Review your online activity
Remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother, when Marshall applies for the job he always wanted and then remembers that there is an online video of himself running naked and calling himself Beercules?
Content like that could definitely get your job application rejected, as 70% of recruiters nowadays google their candidates to research them better. And, if they don’t like what they see, they will simply score you out.
We’ve recently discussed the notion of a digital footprint and explained that everything you share, like, or comment across the web adds up to your online identity. So, go incognito, google yourself, and see what a hiring officer can find out about you. If there is anything you don’t want them to see, make sure you delete it on time. More importantly, mind what you share with the public in the future.
Have a personal site
Being present on LinkedIn is great, but your personal website is what sets you apart from the crowd. Unlike offline resumes and LinkedIn profiles that are arranged according to certain, predetermined patterns and all look alike, your website lets you unleash your creativity and make it all about yourself.
Now, as you’re just starting off and you haven’t had any client yet, publishing clients’ testimonials or ratings doesn’t make any sense. Still, you can use your blog to position yourself as a highly knowledgeable and authoritative source of information. Work on your content strategy, start publishing valuable and relevant articles regularly, and build your own tone and voice. This way, you will show your future employers that, even though you don’t have any previous experiences, you know what you’re talking about.
Another benefit of having a personal website is findability. This is why it’s always a good idea to use your personal name as your domain name. So, when a recruiter googles you, your website will probably be the first thing they see. Combine your name with short and sweet .ME and you’ll make your website authentic and memorable.
Step #3: Emphasize the skills you have rather than those you don’t
If you’re on LinkedIn, you must have noticed that almost everyone there is an expert at something, regardless of their understanding of the industry and working experience. The same goes for resumes. Statistics are pretty worrisome, as they tell us that 1 in 6 candidates lies in their CV.
So, is this what you need to do to land a job? Of course not.
Let’s say a recruiter gets impressed by a bunch of fake information you’ve added to your CV and schedules a meeting with you. They start asking you questions and discover that you were lying. In situations like these, you will get eliminated from the candidate list immediately.
Hiring someone is not all about assessing their skills. It’s also about observing them as a future member of a larger team, someone whose personal traits, interests, and ideas match the company’s core values.
So, make sure the information you add to your CV and online channels is honest. Like we’ve already mentioned above, you should focus on the projects you’ve done on your studies, emphasize the soft skills that may make you a perfect candidate, and communicate clearly your ideas and visions that may give a company a nudge. Also, pay attention to your endorsements on LinkedIn. People will constantly endorse you for a wide range of skills, some of which you don’t even possess and they need to be filtered out as soon as possible.
Step #4: Don’t run away from internships and volunteering
If you’ve done everything we’ve mentioned above and you’re still struggling to get a job, then you should consider applying for a relevant internship or a volunteering position at a reputable company. Apart from getting the knowledge and experience needed to land a perfect job, such authoritative internships and volunteering experiences look really impressive on your professional portfolio. Not to mention numerous connections you will make during your internship.
When reaching out to the desired company, make sure you explain why exactly you’ve chosen them among their competitors, and highlight your previous experiences and skills they may consider valuable.
Over to you
Looking for your first job with no experience can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on your viewpoint. On one hand, this is a great opportunity to start building your career from scratch and growing it in the direction that suits you. But, this is only possible if you take the right steps from the very beginning. Otherwise, it would be just like running a marathon with a wooden leg. Impossible.
Domain.me wants to help you get your perfect job by building a strong online presence. Choose .ME for and give your personal site an authentic vibe!