If I could just give one advice to you as a student or fresh graduate, it would definitely be this:
Obtain relevant experience as quickly as you can!
Because in business, that’s all that really matters.
A degree can often only get you so far unless you complement it with relevant experience. In fact, some employers, especially those in tech, often highlight in their job ads that relevant experience can substitute for lack of higher education. And why wouldn’t they? It’s only logical that they’ll prioritize those with relevant experience to avoid risks and training costs, right?
Now I know what you’re thinking:
“How can I get experience if I can’t get a job because I don’t have any experience!?”
Well that’s the evil paradox, isn’t it?
A paradox many graduates faces, as they’re desperately trying to prove themselves with a “blank” resume. Thus, to avoid getting stuck in the evil paradox and to increase your chances of finding relevant work, here are 5 tips to help you get going.
1. Get an Internship before you graduate or right after graduation
The first thing you should do as a fresh graduate is to obtain a relevant Internship/job as quickly as possible. This will increase your chances of obtaining a relevant full-time job significantly once you’ve completed NYSC.
2. Outside activities
Whether you’re interested in programming, accounting, marketing, leadership etc., engage in Outside activities that is relevant to your work interests. The sooner you do this, the more credible and responsible you appear to your future employer who acknowledges your true interests for the job.
If you’re unsure about which career path you wish to pursue, try out different activities that are relevant to your field of study. When it’s time to apply for a job, simply prioritize and highlight the activity that is most relevant to the job in your resume. Not only have you proven your social skills by participating in extracurricular activities (which is also highly valued by employers), you have also demonstrated the relevance of these activities for the job in question. Great isn’t it?
If you have difficulties finding a relevant job, you could always find relevant volunteer work instead. Even if the volunteer work is not particularly relevant to your work interests, the volunteer work itself can improve your chances of getting a job significantly.
4. Start small
There’s an old saying that goes: “You gotta crawl before you ball”. As much as you’d like to start on top, at the beginning of your career, you have to humble yourself to the lowest positions to get where you want to be. In fact, graduates often have to settle for jobs way below their qualifications before eventually landing the job of their dreams.
However, keep in mind that relevant experience is all that matters. No matter how unattractive you might find the position, in the long run, it will be worth the investment. If you refuse to settle for a job temporarily, someone else will grab the opportunity and take advantage of the experience that will eventually lead to the job of their dreams. Remember, it’s all about the long run, so make sure that the decisions (no matter how small) you make today will benefit you in the future. It can literally be a game-changer.
5. Utilize your network
Whether it’s family members, friends, acquaintances, or some random person you’ve met at your church, a seminar, etc, networking is one of the best ways to get jobs. LinkedIn is especially a valuable platform which allows you to easily locate like-minded individuals like yourself with the same passion, values, and interests. Our career group on telegram is another platform
So in essence, make sure to utilize networking to your full capabilities and make continuously new relationships throughout your career. If you truly want to be successful, you can never stop networking.
6. Appeal to peoples self-interest
In relation to the point above, to increase your chances of getting a job, appeal to peoples self-interest rather than their mercy or gratitude. This can be tricky when you lack relevant experience, but the principle still applies: You need to showcase your value!
Never make it sound like they’re doing you a favor by providing you with salary and skills you have yet to acquire. Instead, demonstrate (without sounding desperate) how you’re a valuable asset that’s worth the investment. Most importantly, show them how your interest is aligned with their own interest and how you can be of their benefit.
When it comes to finding a job, the harsh reality is that you either have what they want or you don’t. Thus, your ability to obtain relevant experience throughout your studies or immediately after graduation is VITAL for your future success! This cannot be emphasized enough and unless you want to learn it the hard way! So better do what it takes TODAY! Because tomorrow it’s already too late.