Jobs are here for the taking, especially for young professionals soon to graduate. Are you too overwhelmed with all those vacancies? What suits you, how do you handle a job interview and how do you ultimately make the best choice? Ashley Efonye, recruitment consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, has already helped quite a few starters get their first job. Ashley lists the most important tips.
Ask for advice
If you will be graduating soon, it is advisable to start talking to recruiters now. They can inform you about job opportunities, starting salaries and more. Moreover, they can assist you with useful application tips and CV advice. They ask you targeted questions and can assess what kind of job might suit you. Ashley: 'In addition, I would definitely visit networking events and job days at companies in your area. You always learn something from these, and the same applies there: talk to the people present and ask for advice. That way you become more aware of what you are looking for in a job."
Choose an organisation that suit you
Think carefully about what type of organisation you want to work for. "At a start-up, for example, you get a lot of freedom and the chance to develop yourself, as you grow with the company, so to speak," says Ashley. "At a multinational company, on the other hand, you learn a lot from colleagues and there is usually a clearly defined career path." Both start-ups, SMEs and multinationals each have their charms. "Keep in mind what you value and apply to jobs at organisations you like. By the way, a spontaneous application can't hurt either: who knows, there might be an opportunity and you might get invited to an interview."
Cliché, but very important: prepare well for an introduction or job interview. Find out who you are going to speak to and what their position is. Also read up on the organisation: what is their mission and what does the company culture look like? Ashley: "Dare to ask questions during the job interview, regarding the onboarding process, for example. Solely following a senior colleague is outdated, so ask what your first weeks will look like, how you will be supervised afterwards and what skills you will master in a year's time."
Don't focus on salary
A good starting salary does not guarantee that you can make big salary jumps quickly in the future. "At another company, you might start with a lower gross salary, but who knows, you might be able to get promoted there in a year's time and earn a lot more," Ashley explains. "Fringe benefits are also valuable, such as meal vouchers, group and hospitalisation insurance, net expense allowance, bicycle leasing or a company car, and so on. Such perks add up quickly and may leave you with more on a monthly basis than a job that offers a higher gross salary. By the way, it is best to raise the salary issue only at a second or third interview."
Keep your ambitions in mind
When looking for your first job, you will probably end up applying to several organisations at once.
Ashley: "In that case, consider which job best matches your ambitions. What can the company offer you in this entry-level role to take you forward?"
Remember that your first job is never perfect, and you don't necessarily have to stay with your first employer for years. "First-time job seekers often feel the pressure to immediately land their dream job," Ashley knows. "However, it is more important to lay a good foundation in your field first. Gaining experience in an entry-level position is essential to eventually land your dream job, even if you don't have it clearly in mind right now."
Want to know more?
Check out our graduates page for recent graduates: you will read our best tips for starters, find out what salary you can expect in your first job, as well as get a preview of our current starter jobs!