The fact that changing technology and ‘progress’ are creating job opportunities in the most unexpected areas is a plus. This means that marketing or creating a need for your qualifications is crucial.
o Entry level candidates are cheap, plentiful, and easily found. Your resume needs to reflect an aspect that will make you stand out from the crowd and will help create a demand for your profile. You need to highlight a USP (unique selling point), whether it is an internship or professional training. If you worked and paid your way through your training, you will project yourself as a hardworking, committed person. Self discipline and time management are the character traits that will follow from you financing your education.
o Presentation of your qualifications and background is the make or break point. You will have 35 to 60 seconds to pique the interest of the employer – that is how long it will take them to read your resume and decide whether to invest the time in meeting you to decide if you can be groomed for a career in the organization.
o The employer has to decide whether your qualifications and background are likely to have given you the personality traits that you will require to succeed in a competitive world.
o Presentation or first appearances are very important. Your resume should be well written, grammatically correct, well laid out and balanced between brevity and informative. Big words, jargon and over-formatting tend to be overkill. Simple things like spacing, font size and general layout enhance clarity and readability.
There are divided opinions on the importance of an entry-level job. One school of thought says that the kind of job is not most important, as first jobs tend to be short jobs while the candidate continues to look out for a better job. The other school of thought says that entry level jobs could be an extended practical internship, therefore making the job content more important than the compensation.
Entry level jobs give a candidate a taste of the demands of a career and the sacrifices that have to be made to further a career. It is a testing ground for them to put their knowledge to practical use and exposes them to the unprotected environment of an office where everybody is trying to prove themselves. On the positive side, entry-level jobs can also give you the satisfaction of proving your competence.
How to Target Prospective Employers
o The placement office in your school is the most obvious place to start, especially since most institutions have campus recruitment programs. In addition, smaller organizations may not qualify for a slot in the campus recruitment schedule, but would be happy to recruit just one or two candidates. Technical jobs are best placed through this route as technology based organizations find this the most efficient way of filling in their entry-level positions.
o The Internet is the easiest and most accessible point for prospective employers. Resist the temptation to blindly send out your resume. Try and target your most suitable prospective employers where you are going to be able to get the experience that will bolster the qualifications you have acquired. Try and find out their correct mailing details and send them a customized and personalized job application – this will be more impressive.
o Cold calling is similar to sending out your resume on the Internet. It involves handing in your resume at offices that work in your area of expertise. This is more laborious and would restrict you to your area of location.
o Placement agencies get a variety of job requirements to fill. They are also likely to be able to give you some broad knowledge on the industry and the organization to which they will send your resume. They will also give you an idea of what kind of remuneration you can expect.
Your entry-level job is an important practical extension to the educational qualifications you have gained. Getting the right kind of job will provide focus to your career. Your first job is also likely to leave a lasting impression on you and will also help you form your work habits that you will use for the rest of your career.