Finally graduated from your degree in IT and not sure where to start? It can be tough to take everything you’ve learnt over the past few years and get a job, especially if you don’t have much experience! Here some thoughts that might help you find that elusive first job.
1. Make the most of whatever experience you do have
A common complaint is “every employer wants a person who already has some experience, but I have only just graduated, so they won’t even consider me”. When I questioned the last person who said this to me, it turned out that he did have experience, he just wasn’t highlighting it in his resumé.
– He had 6 years of customer facing experience from supermarket work he had done in his vacations. This sort of experience is often highly valued by many employers looking for IT support staff. They know that people who can handle difficult customers in a supermarket or bar will have no difficulty with the typical helpdesk enquiry!
– during his university course he had done three work experience projects where he had worked in real work places doing meaningful IT tasks, which he explained to me very well, and were typical of what his next employer might ask him to do. Unfortunately he had left them out of his resumé!
2. Network, Network, Network!
What happened to your classmates from your course? Did any of them find work in places that might also have an opportunity for you? Did you keep in touch with your teachers? They are likely to have industry contacts and to be very interested in helping you. After all, they have invested work in you and so have a stake in your future.
Use professional and social networking sites. I have noticed that almost all the experienced IT professionals I have met have LinkedIn profiles, often very detailed ones. Strangely, many of the younger ones don’t. LinkedIn is a great free way to announce and promote yourself. Put up a detailed profile and always consider inviting anybody you meet in your professional life to link to you.
None of us likes rejection. If you apply for a job, and get a boilerplate rejection email, or worse, no response at all, don’t be discouraged. Unfortunately, not all recruitment agents and employers are scrupulous about following up applications. Just put it behind you and seek out new positions to apply for.
If you do get to interview, but don’t get the position, focus on the positives you have gained from the process. You have gained real life interview experience, you have found out something about a particular position and company, and what you have learned can help you in future interviews. Try to find out as much as you can about where you fell short, and whether you will considered for future positions with the same employer. If you were second on their list, and another similar position arises, it is the path of least resistance for them to hire you. Give them every chance to do so by making sure they have all your current contact details. It doesn’t hurt to follow up with them regularly either, as long as you don’t do it to the point of becoming a nuisance!