Finding good work can be difficult. Uncovering opportunities and finding roles that are meaningful and fulfilling is a challenge, even for seasoned professionals. Young job hunters often have additional barriers including a lack of experience, less-developed professional networks and, often, not knowing the exact career path or role in which one is interested. There is a lot of good advice available on how to conduct an effective job search, including many tried-and-true foundational strategies such as conducting research, developing and tailoring your resume, leveraging your network, and so on. Those are all important and necessary tools. However, with this blog post, we want to provide some specific, and maybe less common, insights for young job hunters—insights that can help you find work now and position you for future success.
Use Social Media Wisely
One of the first things a new job hunter should do in today’s labour market is leverage the power of social media and the internet. Sign-up for, and frequently check, digital job boards, platforms, and job search services. Create a list of companies and roles that interest you and follow their websites and social media accounts. Engage with them. Create a LinkedIn profile and take the time to make it as clean, intelligent and as positive as possible. Make sure you review and curate your online presence. Potential employers will check into you and your personal accounts including Facebook and Instagram, so be sure to remove any images or content that is not flattering. You don’t want to present an unprofessional image.
Find a Mentor
Often, connections with mentors begin even before graduation or the completion of career training. Internships, volunteer work, industry webinars and conferences are all activities that can lead to the opportunity to connect with someone who can provide valuable career advice. A good mentor can help you open the right job opportunities and help steer you clear of career pitfalls. Mentorships can begin as a natural development between two people, but don’t be afraid to request the guidance of someone you admire. The right connections often last for a long time—well after you obtain that first job. And, the mentor-mentee relationship helps with future career mobility and success. As a young job hunter, be sure to take advantage of every offer of help and, of course, show appreciation to those who support and champion your career.
Young job hunters should enter their job search with an open mind. Don’t be afraid to try for roles that pique your interest. The beginning phase of your career is the time to take risks and, perhaps, try things that might not pay as well but allow you to indulge your passions. Also, if an early role isn’t appealing to you, don’t be afraid to make a change. Early in your career you have the freedom to change roles and really find your niche before you become established or entrenched in a certain role or industry.
Approach Your Job Search as an Important First Step in a Longer Journey
Similar to the willingness to take risks, young job seekers should approach potential employment as the first step in a longer journey. Although you are excited to get into the work force and work in your field, your first job will almost surely not be your dream job. When you are evaluating opportunities, take a longer view and consider the next steps in your career trajectory. Does the role you are considering have good prospects for growth, for learning, for getting you closer to those roles that you really desire? Early in your job search, it may make sense to take a role that pays less but offers more opportunity for growth.
Commit to the Role
Finally, once you do land a promising role, immerse yourself in the job and the organization. Get involved. Look to network with other enthusiastic employees both within your company and in your industry. Seek to work on projects that will expand your skills or that give you a chance to work with people whom you admire or would like to learn from. Be a champion of the brand and of your industry—your enthusiasm and commitment will get noticed and will open doors in your career.