July 29, 2022 | In Articles

How to land a job immediately after school - Part A

How to land a job immediately after school
-
Part A

I recently came across a job posting for an entry-level position requiring applicants to have at least one year of working experience.

My first thought was, "Maybe the definition of entry-level has changed; I should update myself".

It makes sense, however, that this company is requesting some work experience for this position because, in recent times, there have been more opportunities for university students and other individuals to apply for internships, fellowships, volunteer work, etc.

There is also the mandatory national service that some countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey, and Singapore require their college graduates to participate in (Read about it here).

It is common knowledge that you need experience to get a job. But to get that experience, you need a job.

It is almost like how you need an egg to hatch a chicken, but it is a chicken that will lay the egg that hatches - So which indeed came first; the egg or the chicken (Homework for 20 marks).

Luckily the job-experience situation isn't as complex as the chicken-egg dilemma

Most internships and fellowships require little or no work experience, but they do provide it.

How can we be desirable to an organization when we have little or no work experience?

Discussion for the day.

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Rack your brain for the experience you didn't know you had

The good news is that the skills companies require can be gotten outside a traditional work setting.

Before concluding that you do not have any work experience, think back on past activities and connect the expertise gained from them with the knowledge you need for the job.

When creating your CV, find inventive ways to demonstrate that you have the transferrable skills necessary to make you an outstanding recruit.

..find inventive ways to demonstrate that you have the transferrable skills necessary to make you an outstanding recruit.

For instance, growing up, I went to my aunt's home for vacations, and she had a cold fish store.

Every morning I dressed up and went to work with her. I did this mainly because I didn't want to be idle, but I also knew I might be able to make a quick cedi.

All I did was re-count the money customers paid her to ensure it tallied with her count. I then wrote this down in a foolscap notebook

Although this is not official employment, this is the role of a cashier in some organizations.

I would have included this experience if I needed to make a CV at that point. To be a cashier, you need to - be able to pay attention to detail, be patient, be able to work under pressure and be efficient – and this experience checked all the boxes.

These are some skills that organizations cherish, but these are not skills I gained in a formal work setting.

Below is how I would have constructed this experience on my CV.

"Developed attention to detail by ensuring customer payments tallied with company sales accounts."

"Developed the ability to work under pressure by devising ways to attend to large numbers of customers during peak seasons."

Do not underestimate the importance of that out-of-work experience you got while stepping in for your mom at her provision shop, for example.

Build Experience

Internships and practical training are often made available or recommended by many degree programs, particularly those meant to prepare you for a professional future.

Suppose, however, you did not take advantage of these opportunities during your time at university. In that case, some organizations might offer Internships to graduates with no prior work experience. Find such opportunities in your country of residence and take advantage of them.

Apart from internships, volunteering is also an excellent way to meet new people and develop some work experience.

Creatives like graphic designers, photographers, web designers etc., can gain experience by starting personal projects to build their portfolios.

Take courses to build in-demand skills

Developing soft skills are just as important as having the technical abilities to succeed in the modern workplace.

Employers today are looking for individuals that not only thrive at their jobs but also fit into the workplace environment and get along with coworkers. The development of soft skills coupled with hard skills is necessary for individuals to do these things successfully.

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are a few examples of computer-related hard skills. Others include software development, foreign languages, project management, and data analysis. Here is a great website to learn coding very easily. For Free!

Possessing soft skills makes it possible for you to communicate with others meaningfully.

Some in-demand soft skills are complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management and emotional intelligence.

Because most occupations require collaboration, it is critical to have soft skills to improve your employability and land your ideal job. These skills together will assist you in developing your professional network, boosting your productivity, and eventually succeeding at work.

Whom you know is not a myth

Picture this - A close friend of yours has a thriving business, and they need someone to occupy a recently vacant position as a data analyst.

Your friend knows how hardworking and dedicated to getting results you are.

You have just completed a certified course on data analysis.

As sure as 1+1=2, your friend will not overlook you when recruiting for this position. (I mean unless…..)

"Protocol" is only flawed when a square peg is forced into a round hole.

Networking serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.

Active networking boosts your chance of being introduced to potentially useful individuals or possibly getting a good reference, which keeps you in mind when opportunities, such as job vacancies, occur.

Note, however, that networking shouldn't be all about what you can get but also what you can give.

..networking shouldn't be all about what you can get but also what you can give.

Finding a job with little or no experience is difficult, but rest assured that it is something that everyone has gone through.

Luckily, in recent times, there are many opportunities available to make ourselves more desirable to potential employers, as discussed above.

Find what works for you; think hard about possible experiences, network, take courses, and get that bag.

by Papa Kwesi Asare-Dokyi

Lead Writer & Co-Editor, Looksharp Global

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Comments (34)

Joe

Enjoyable read. I could use some more thinking to search for skills I didn't know I had.

2022-07-29 12:37:47

Jayne Deku

Well-written and informative article. As noted by the writer, not all skills are acquired in a formal setting and it’s important to think outside the proverbial box. Great article to get people thinking of skills they have acquired in a non-traditional or informal setting, that can be applied in a more formal workplace.

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