With more and more young professionals noticing the paradox of needing prior experience to secure an entry-level position, the concept has gone as far as to become a viral Internet joke. However, this is more than just an instance of light humor. It is the reality many are confronted with as we speak, and it makes getting hired unnecessarily hard for everyone.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Although this oxymoron won’t cease to exist anytime soon, there is something you can do about it. With the right approach, you will obtain the position you have been targeting. Getting your foot in the door isn’t simple, but if you’re ambitious and smart, it is possible. Here are three things to keep in mind when applying for your first job.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Start at the Bottom
There is no shame in starting at the bottom. In fact, securing a high-paying management job straight out of college is nearly impossible even for the best out there. You might feel like you are overqualified for most entry-level positions due to your educational background, and you are most likely right. Nevertheless, it’s time to make do with what you are offered.
The most successful business owners of our time have followed this method. For example, Etsy CEO Chad Dickenson advises entering a company at its lowest tier, and these are usually positions in the field of support nowadays. This strategy is what he applied back in the day when he was hunting for his first line of work.
He took the most menial clerical job with a North Carolina newspaper in 1993, and that publication just so happened to be the first one to transfer itself online. He learned a great deal about managing websites there, and now he is the owner of one of the largest and most innovative Internet marketplaces in the world.
Therefore, you never know how filling out a Home Depot online application or getting a cashier post at your local Walgreens could impact your future. By working hard enough and displaying commitment to the common goal of the firm, you are bound to advance up the corporate ladder with ease and build a successful future.
2. Use Social Media and Events to Network
In nowadays competitive professional landscape, the connections you form in the field are what makes or breaks a career. Therefore, if you want to commence your journey on the right foot, it’s essential to know how to network properly. And because social media is the most influential driving force in the world right now, using it to your advantage is a true power move.
Twitter is the suitable option for this. According to Monster.com, creating a managing an account with the platform is easy, and it gets you far. Of course, you will need to follow the right people, as well as respectfully join conversations on the topics you are interested in so that you can showcase your knowledge and wit.
The key is to maintain your presence alive. Dedicate at least ten minutes every week to your Twitter account, and you will surely find new opportunities. However, if the Internet is not your preferred playground, attending specialty events is also a possibility. Go to job fairs and talk to people, then send them your portfolio. Be relentless and dedicated, and you will prosper.
3. Emphasize Your Soft Skills Properly
According to leadership coach Lolly Daskal, hard skills are important, but it’s the soft skills that turn the spotlight towards a certain candidate. Are you particularly friendly, or is your moral compass strong as a bull? Are you responsive, communicative, and a real go-getter? What examples in your life can you present to prove that?
Depending on the field you are applying for, it’s a high chance that most candidates know economics, or IT, or cooking, and so on. However, marketing your other qualities is what sets you apart from the crowd of young professionals. These can’t be taught in school or at a seminar, which is exactly what makes them so valuable.
Your soft skills need to be outlined in your resume, as well as discussed more in-depth during the interview. Because you don’t have any prior job experience, and there’s only so much you can say about college, be prepared for most of the attention to be focused towards them. Answer questions eloquently and prove your worth. It is the surest way to get ahead.
The Bottom Line
The job industry nowadays sometimes works in illogical ways. Fortunately, designing an active game plan is your ticket to working around that. Don’t shy away from menial positions, as they are usually a starting point to get promoted. And if you want to climb up the ladder, nothing beats the powers of networking.
Accentuate the importance of your soft skills, and you’re all set. Attending interviews with confidence and resolve, and you will get hired. Even if it’s not exactly what you wanted, with hard work you can get anywhere you want.