About to graduate? Get your skates on!

It’s nearly final exam time again. Loads of students are gearing up to sit their final exams and then after a wel deserved summer will start applying for jobs. They then wonder why it is so difficult to find a job.

Huh? Ever tried to stand out in a massive crowd? Pretty difficult isn’t it?

Every year hundreds of thousands of graduates are trying to clinch their first job after summer. It’s a real lemming type behaviour. Companies get inundated with hundreds (if not thousands) of applicants for vacancies they might have. The chance that you might get a job in this stampede is fairly slim.

The better approach to finding a job is to start early. When all other students are still uhm… studying, start approaching companies. Don’t wait until they post their vacancies, it’ll be too late by then to stand out. First decide as to what you want to do. Do you want to work for a big multinational? Or do you prefer a niche company? Do you want to work for a start up company or a well established one?

When you have decided which career path you want to take, research the market to see which companies are out there. Try to work out who they are, what they do and what they stand for. If you like what you see try to envisage what you could add to the company. How would your skills be useful to the company? Why would they want to hire you? See yourself as a product that you want to sell. Make clear to the potential “buyer” why this “product” is unique. Companies like to see a return on every investment they make. Hiring you is an investment. Spell it out to them how they would benefit from hiring you.

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who might potentially hire you. Would you be impressed by someone who sits there passively and only responds to questions? I bet not. Companies want people who can think for themselves, who show interest in what the company does and ask questions about the company. So, prepare yourself, read up on the company and try to find areas within the company where your expertise could add value. This could be as simple as introducing the company to the latest technologies on the market or specific knowledge you’ve got about a certain foreign market.

Be creative. Think outside the box. See opportunities where the company might not have spotted them and build a case for it. You might have opened the company’s eyes to something they have never realised they could do. The benefit of that is that you instantly become an “expert”. And who wouldn’t want to hire an energetic expert?

So…. beat the queues and start early. Be proactive, take the initiative and secure yourself a job that might not even had existed if you had not approached the company.

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