Landing an entry-level job isn’t as simple as walking up to a counter and asking to fill out an application. The Great Recession threw the job market into chaos and created an environment where entry-level jobs weren’t necessarily reserved for fresh graduates.
One recent story suggests that over half of college graduates today are unemployed or under-employed, so figuring out how to land an entry-level job has become challenging. Consider the following simple tips for getting the most out of your entry-level job search.
Don’t Create a Novel Out of a Resume
Experts have long advocated a short and tidy resume, but that hasn’t seemed to stop some job seekers from including absolutely every piece of work experience in their resumes. You might be proud of a long and studious work history, but an accounting firm won’t care about that job you had as a grocery store bagger 10 years ago. Unless you’re work history is extremely thin, it might be best to leave this information off your resume.
Spend Time on the Cover Letter
A resume might require a few minor tweaks each time you send it out, but it’s best to craft a cover letter from scratch each time you apply for a new job. A generic cover letter is simply a waste of time for hiring managers, and it will be thrown directly into the trash. Say something meaningful in a sharp and intelligent way in your cover letter, but don’t go overboard with formalities.
Don’t Forget Application Requirements
Many businesses require the standard cover letter and resume, but it’s not uncommon for application requirements to include other items like references or examples from a portfolio. Read the application requirements and then read them again. Forgetting any part of an application request will get your resume tossed before a word has been read.
Create a Social Media Presence, Smartly
You don’t want your future employer to see pictures of the birthday party that involved maybe one too many margaritas. Social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter can be instrumental to your job search, but be cautious when using these sites.
However, an active Twitter account that discusses your industry will grab a hiring manager’s attention. Some experts consider social media to be one of the best options for landing an entry-level job.
Make Friends & Keep Them
Related to a healthy social media presence is a strong network of friends, former coworkers, teachers, and anyone with a connection to your industry. Your freshman year engineering teacher might have ties to your future employer, so keep in touch with everyone you can during school and after graduation. Cultivate professional friendships when possible. Keep a hard copy list if you must to help you remember important connections.
Don’t Be Afraid of Start-Ups
A large, established company may offer job stability, a healthy paycheck, and benefits, but don’t forget start-ups and small companies. You might have to take a pay cut or work as a “jack of all trades” when you work for a new company, but you could also get in on the ground floor of something amazing. At the very least, an entry-level job with a new company could be a great stepping stone to work at a large, established business.
Practice the Perfect Interview
There’s no avoiding the butterflies in your stomach during an interview, but some practice and research before the interview might make the experience a little smoother. For example, you could practice answering common interview questions with a friend.
And remember: you need to investigate the target company before you even pick up the phone for a first-round phone interview. Hiring managers appreciate a little leg work by job applicants who take the time to understand the company and its history.
Quick Tips on How to Land an Entry-Level Job
There are several additional activities that may offer an edge in your entry-level job search. Consider these routes to entry-level success:
– Complete or start an internship.
– Start out as an independent contractor or freelancer.
– Volunteer in a direct or related field.
– Learn a new technical skill set.
Entry-level jobs are in high demand, and you’ll need to be quick, smart, and savvy to land one in your field. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet in the application pool. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. LiveCareer helps you create an elegant resume that will make you stand out in a crowded job market.