By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer
Apply To Advertised Postings, Tap Into The Hidden Job Market
Getting that first “real” job – also known as an entry-level position – can be tougher than blocking lame advertisements on your MySpace pages. To find employment that you like and which pays a reasonable wage, you’ll need to create an action plan for yourself.
Your plan can be broken down into three manageable stages: deciding what kind of work you want to do, getting ready to market yourself, and doing a targeted job hunt.
Stage 1 – Deciding What Kind Of Work You Want To Do
Hoping to become an astronaut or rock star? Or maybe the creator of the next videogame sensation like DOOM? To get there you’re going to need a starter job that hopefully puts you on the right path. Everyone has to begin their career somewhere. It starts with figuring out what you think you might like to do with your life.
If you can merge something you’re passionate about (outer space, music, video gaming) with the work you end up doing, you get the best of both worlds. Check in with your school’s career centre or guidance department for help on indentifying possible occupations that fit with who you are as a person.
Stage 2 – Getting Ready To Market Yourself
Everyone knows that you need a resume when you’re job hunting. but did you know it can be helpful to have a “transitional business card” you can give out to people you meet during your search? Not to mention cleaning up your online profiles so employers who Google you won’t be shocked by what they see. Here are some ways to prepare for a successful job hunt campaign:
Create Good Marketing Material
- Develop a resume that captures the highlights of your achievements in school and any outside activities (including volunteer work, part-time or summer jobs, etc.)
- Get a transitional business card printed up so you can give these out when you’re networking with people f2f
Clean Up Your Digital Dirt
- Make sure your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other online profiles don’t portray you publicly as some party-animal brat
- Change your privacy settings so that only friends of yours can access your inner stuff
- Search for public photos of you that are tagged with your name on your friends’ pages. Ask them to remove the ones of you in that fabulous little bikini or chugging beer from a keg
Prepare For Job Interviews
- Practice giving answers to the most commonly asked interview questions
- Put together responses to difficult questions you might be asked (such as “why are you naked on your Hi5! Profile?”)
- Get a clue about salaries and benefits before you negotiate the job offer
Stage 3: Doing a Targeted Job Hunt
Just about anyone can find a lousy job quickly. But if you want one that pays o.k., has prospects for growth and challenge, is with a recognized employer and doesn’t require a two hour commute each way, you have to focus your job search and hunker down.
Begin by searching for posted positions on Monster.ca. Tip: check out our PowerSearch (Beta) on the homepage. Type in a location and job title. Then use the “Experience” drop down list to select only entry-level jobs – ones that require a limited amount of experience, such as “zero” or “one year.”
Lots of people apply for these kinds of jobs so there’s no guarantee you’ll be contacted by an employer for an interview. That’s why at the same time you’re replying to job ads you should also look into the hidden job market, where positions haven’t even been advertised yet. The way to penetrate this market is by networking with your contacts.
This is where your online social networks come in handy. Let the people in your network know you’re looking for a certain kind of job in a particular location. See if they know anyone who already works in the field or industry in which you’re trying to get hired. Chat with these referred contacts and see if some of them will meet with you in person to give you helpful information or introductions to others.
A Foot In The Door Beats Being Unemployed
Here’s a harsh truth but one worth knowing: your starter gig may not look anything like the dream job you’ve been imagining. But that’s fine. Eileen Collins, the first ever female commander and pilot of a Space Shuttle, began her career as a part-time math teacher. Lady Gaga (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) performed in burlesque shows in seedy underground bars in New York alongside strippers. Meanwhile videogame DOOM co-creator John Carmack, one wealthy guy these days, took a part-time job at a pizza parlour while coding his first few practice games.
Regardless of which entry-level position you’re seeking, go after it as if you really mean it. Use all the tools at your disposal. Follow the stages outlined above. And shoot for the stars...but be prepared to start off with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
How To Find A Good Job
There are a number of different methods you can use to find a job today. Understanding the different tools which can help you search for jobs will give you an edge over those who limit themselves to a single source.
The first thing you will want to do before looking for job is to write up a good resume. If the job is very professional you will need both a resume and a curriculum vitae. You will also want to make sure you use a cover letter. Resumes should always be submitted for full-time jobs in specialized fields.
Most part-time jobs will not require you to fill out an application. If you are going for a professional position, it is important to realize that your resume is the most important factor in helping you get a job. Writing a resume with poor grammar or spelling errors will get you rejected. You want to make sure you use a nice cover letter. It is also important to make sure the document is printed out on a laser printer if possible. Dot matrix printers and older typewriters will not give your document a professional look.
It is crucial to make sure your cover letters are personalized. Employers receive lots of resumes on a daily basis, and will toss yours in the trash if they feel that it was "mass printed." Print the first and last name of the prospective employer on the cover letter, and make sure it is addressed to them. After you’ve done this, you will next want to sell yourself to prospective employers. What skills and qualities do you have that will make you a good candidate for the job? Remember, employers get a large number of resumes on a daily basis. It is crucial that you stand out from the crowd in a good way. If you don’t give employers a good reason to consider you for a job, it is likely they won’t.
Once you have created the perfect resume and cover letter, you will next want to look at the different methods you can use to look for a job. You could look in newspaper ads, magazines. or the internet. The internet is the newest form of media which allows you to look for a good job. In many ways, it is better than newspapers and magazines for a number of reasons. Newspapers and magazines only have so much space in which they can advertise positions. In other words, they are limited. The internet is just the opposite. It is the global information super highway. There are hundreds of websites where you can look through thousands of offers.
As you can see, using the internet to look for a job is a great idea. You will find a much larger selection of jobs, and this will give you more career choices. When an employee is interested in your resume, they will want to conduct an interview. Understanding how to properly give an interview can make the difference between you being hired or rejected. You will obviously want to wear the right clothing. If you are applying for a business job, you will want to wear a suit. After the interview is completed, you will want to make sure you follow up with the employer. It is best to wait about a week before doing this. This will give the potential employer time to think about whether or not they should hire you.
You can also impress a potential employer by using a thank you letter. A thank you letter shows that you appreciate the time an employer spent reviewing your resume or conducting an interview. You will also want to research the salary for the job you are interested in getting. Having a knowledge of how much you and the job you want are worth will allow you to effectively negotiate with an employer. In most professional job interviews, the employer will ask you how much you’d like to be paid. How you answer this question will determine whether or you will receive a competitive salary. When you look for a job, it should be something you are comfortable with. Even if the job pays a lot, you won’t last long if you don’t enjoy what you do.
Editorial Team at Exforsys is a team of IT Consulting and Training team led by Chandra Vennapoosa.