So you’ve graduated from university and are officially entering the job market- well done! For some people, finishing up school and getting a big kid job is an exciting prospect, while for others, it can be a bit nerve wracking. From applying to positions, attending interviews and finally landing a job, here are a few tips to make your transition from university life to the job market a bit easier.
Prep your CV and cover letter
When applying for a new job, almost everyone will ask for a CV and cover letter. For some, those will be the only things you submit for your application. It’s smart to make sure your CV and cover letter are well put together, concise and contain any information that is pertinent to the job. Yes, this means you might have to adapt your CV and cover letter for each position that you apply to, but it’s worth the extra time. Employers will notice if you are using a generic cover letter, with nothing that tailors it towards the position you are applying for. Also, take a few minutes to tighten up your CV and make sure everything is up to date before applying. This will be your first impression on a company, so make it a good one!
Do your research
So you applied for the job and you actually have an interview, so far so good! Next step, do some research. Before your interview, hit up Google and find out as much about the company, their mission and the position as possible. If you know who will be conducting the interview, see if you can find them on LinkedIn. Doing background research will prepare you for an interview, and might lessen your nerves a bit! It makes a great impression if you share some of your newfound knowledge during your meeting. If you’ve learned about a company’s history and comment on it, it will be clear to that you’ve done your homework. This is a great way to show your enthusiasm and preparedness for a position. Also, at the end of almost every interview, the interviewer asks the potential candidate if he or she has any questions. This is basically a given. While doing your research and preparing for your meeting, you might come across a few questions you have. This is the perfect time to get those questions answered, and anything else on your mind. Definitely come up with something, even if it’s only what their favorite part of working there is! A lack of questions might come across as a lack of caring.
It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed
Alright, your application is in, the interview is set and you’ve done your research. Next step? Wardrobe. While many people think what you wear to the interview doesn’t matter, it might matter a great deal to the interviewer. Majority of the time, it’s best to err on the side of caution and dress more formally for a job interview. That means no jeans, t-shirts, flip flops or excessive jewelry. If it’s a company with an informal vibe, again, it’s always better to overdress for your meeting than it is to underdress. If it’s an informal startup and the boss wears jeans everyday, once you get the job you can dress down a bit, while still being work appropriate! However, as previously mentioned, do your research and be prepared! When you’re contacted about the interview, you might be told to dress casually or comfortably, or if it’s a job in the fashion industry, to wear something that is your signature style. If you’re unsure, ask the interviewer what the office dress code is. It all depends on the job and the company, but when in doubt, overdressing makes a much better impression than underdressing!
Don’t be too informal
So after all that, the application process, the interview with your perfect outfit, you nailed the job! Hopefully, your boss and coworkers are amazing people, who you work well with and get along with. However, even if your manager or director acts like your new best friend, don’t allow your relationship to become too casual. There is nothing better than having a boss that you respect, love to work for and get along fabulously with. That being said, no matter how cool he or she is, they are still your boss! You can still have great friendships with coworkers while maintaining work appropriate relationships. This means no cussing, over-sharing about your personal life or being inappropriate. If you work in an office that employs a lot of recent grads, all about your age, it will be a great, fun environment to be in. Maybe you even work at the same company as some friends from university! Just remember to find the proper work and social balance, and save any stories about your crazy weekend for happy hour with your coworkers, after hours, not during work!
Every opportunity becomes a networking opportunity
For most recent grads, the word networking becomes the most tiring, annoying word, ever. However, it is a necessary evil, especially when transitioning from university life to the job force. Every person you meet and speak with becomes a potential opportunity for networking. You might go for an interview and not get the job, but connected really well with your interviewer. Take the time to call them after and thank them for their time. They will appreciate the sentiment, and it makes a good impression. Maybe you were a great fit for the company, but not that specific position. If something more suitable for you comes up later on, that person may contact you before advertising the job. By making the bit of extra effort to network and reach out to people, you are creating important connections that might benefit you in the future!
Transitioning from university life to working full time can be a challenge for recent grads, but it is possible! Just remember that finding a job may take some time, so be patient and don’t get discouraged!