Landing your first job after graduating is difficult. There are a lot of talented young students emerging into the workplace at the same time, and good entry-level IT positions are competitive.
Don’t be disheartened, though, as there are ways you can increase your chances of finding a good job in your chosen sector. You’ll need to put some time and effort in, but it will pay off in the long term.
Think about what you want to do
You might already know exactly what you want to do with your life, or you might have a vague idea. It does help if you give a little thought to your future career path, as this helps you select potential job roles to give you a step in the right direction. You are not fixed on this path for life; you will have plenty of opportunities to develop your skills and change your goals throughout your career.
Try to be realistic with your aims. We’ve all dreamt of being an astronaut or racing-car driver as a kid, but very few people go on to turn those dreams into a reality. There are some exceptional roles for graduates with an interest in IT that are achievable. Look at what is out there and what you’re drawn to. If you have an idea of what your end career goal might be, you can start to think about the steps you need to take to get you there.
Before you even start applying for a job, you need to make sure you’re ready for employers to consider you. Your CV is the best place to start. This needs to be a good-quality, easy-to-read breakdown of your skills and qualifications. You only have one chance at a first impression and your CV is what a potential employer will see first. Make sure you have all the relevant information on it, as succinctly as possible. Run it through a spell check, but also read it through thoroughly. Computer spell checks are not infallible – they don’t know you meant to type ‘out’ and not ‘our’. It’s best to let someone else give it a read-through as well; it’s much harder to spot mistakes in your own writing.
When you have a CV that’s ready to go out into the world, start uploading it to job boards relevant to your chosen goal. This will let potential recruiters know you’re available and what you can do. Get in touch with the team at Spectrum IT to help with your job search, as well as get feedback and tips on your CV.
In the modern world we live in, your digital presence matters more than ever, especially when you’re looking to work in a technical environment. A good first step is to run a Google search on yourself. It might seem a little narcissistic, but you want to know what a potential employer could find. Update your social media profiles, controlling what external people can see. If you have public profiles, consider the content from an outside point of view and whether it could affect your chances of landing a dream job.
Use social media to your advantage and get involved in the IT world. Join LinkedIn and update your profile with your CV and skills information. There are various companies on there you can opt to follow, as well as IT-related groups. Connect with recruiters on social media too, as this means you will hear about potential jobs as soon as they are available.
If you have an online portfolio, make sure that it’s easy to find, presentable and showcases your best work. Join development platforms like GitHub and Stack Overflow. These can be a good place to find jobs, connect with recruiters and peers, and learn new skills. You can also join local user groups and attend conferences or lectures. These might be based online or offline, but they show a keen interest in the industry and continuing self-development.
Be interview ready
Once your CV is out there, you need to be ready to go for an interview at any time. Make sure you have a go-to outfit. You don’t need to spend a fortune on an expensive suit. However, you should have neat, clean and ironed clothes that are suitable for an interview – think smart shirt or blouse, trousers or skirt and neutral shoes. Also, have a suitable bag or case for transporting your laptop or portfolio, if you need to take samples of work.
When you go for an interview, be on time and polite. Greet whoever you meet with respect and friendliness, regardless of whether they are interviewing you or not. An employer is looking for someone who will fit into their established team, so your interview starts from the minute you walk through the front door.
Accepting the role
After a successful CV and interview, you could be offered the job. Or you might even get multiple job offers! It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but the process isn’t quite over yet. The next step is to decide whether to take any of the roles you are offered. You need to consider which is the right step for you. This is where a specialist recruitment agency like Spectrum IT can really help. We can do the negotiating for you, across more than one job offer when relevant, and present you with the best package and role to help you meet your goals.
Once you’ve taken on the position and agreed your start date, the real work starts. It’s time to make a good impression and show your new employer they made the right decision.
The most important thing is not to give up. It might take a little time to get the right role, but it’s worth it to put you on a career path that could last you a lifetime. Keep your end goal in mind and remember the right job for you is out there.