Have you ever seen one of those job ads that are looking for a junior something something that is young (i.e. under 15) but has 10 years experience? I mean…what? In order to get a job you need experience but you cannot get experience without getting a job! What is left? An unpaid internship for the rest of your life? It may feel that way…but we have a few thoughts that will hopefully encourage you to getting your foot in the door when experience is not something you have much of.
Let’s be honest…if you were running a company you would want the very best people for the cheapest possible price. It is the law of business. The average job spec is actually shooting for the unicorn candidate. Someone who will solve every problem that has not been fixed yet in the current role. Traits like “dynamic” and “highly energetic” are common themes in job adverts. “Effective communicators” and “able to work under pressure” come up again and again. Let’s be honest – if you were able to get through varsity and most likely waiter to get some pocket money you already tick those 4 traits.
Every graduate has to start somewhere! Keep in mind that some of those job requirements may actually just be “if it’s possible find someone like this” kind of requirements. You might read a job description and think that you have the upward mobility to learn quickly and fulfill the task. Brilliant! Then this what you need to do!
1. Prepare Yourself
Every employer is looking for employees that are going to work hard and add value. This does mean that there will be a steep learning curve ahead (even before you land the dream role) and you need to be ready for that. Remember – everything that you have done up till the point of applying for the job is just indicating to an employer the kind of person that you are and whether or not you will be up for the new task. So take a few deep breathes and get ready for the action because you are going to need to put together a killer CV and nail that interview!
2. Understand the job you want
Do the research. Print out the job spec. Find jobs that are similar and read through the requirements. You need to figure out how your skills and experience up to this point could possible match what is required on the job. You will need to explain this to the employer so you better know what you are talking about. Tailor your CV for THIS ROLE. A generic CV won’t make it through the first few seconds of the recruitment process.
You will need to have a good grasp on:
- Who the perfect candidate is
- What the actual job entails day to day
- What experience is ideal for this position
- What skill the ideal candidate should exhibit
- What kind of traits the perfect candidate will have
Get a highlighter out and make notes. This is going to take some time as you really need to understand what you are getting yourself into!
3. Carefully Craft your tailored CV
Remember that you are not positioning yourself to lie or oversell yourself…you are simply showing the employers that you have the potential to smash it out of the park – you just need a gap. They will be able to see that you don’t have the work experience but that you do have the drive. That is key. Get as specific as you can and use key words that communicate what you have that is transferrable into the new role:
- Verbal & Written communication
- Time Management
- Team Work
- Proven Track Record
- Technological Skills
4. Get specific and make it count
The skills that you have need to be broken down into some great examples of how you solved a problem and took some ground for the organisation or project you were working with. Be careful not to make it too fluffy – it needs to be clear and make sense.
Instead of writing something lofty like “able to engage complex situations and make them simple” rather use a specific example when you were able to logically engage with what others felt was complex but you were able to swiftly work through and explain to others.
Take into account the specifics of the job you are applying for. Try to match your skillset to what is required.
5. Finish off your CV with a killer bio & cover letter
Most cover letters are not well worded and don’t seem to hit the nail on the head when it comes to the skills of the candidate. By this stage you have already identified what skills are required for the specific job…not all you need to do is put together the key elements of your CV into one concise paragraph that gives the employer a summary of who you are and what you are capable of.
6. Submit your CV and do it again for another role
Don’t be discouraged if it does not result in a callback or job interview the first time round. There are lots of places that you could apply so do the research and do it all over again. The more you do it the better you will get and the better your chances will be of landing your dream job!
Once you get that interview date make sure you are prepared by reading through interview preparation blogs like this one: (link to interview preparation blog). Dress for success and you are on your way!