Looking for my first job - How do I know what's right for me?

So that’s it. You’re walking out of university having bossed your last exam. It’s time to relax, right? Wrong! This is where the hard work really starts…

Ever heard about the early bird catching the worm? If you haven’t started thinking about your career path, the time is now. As the summer season kicks in, thousands of graduates will flood the market and line up up to the ultimate challenge - finding their first job. But finding your first job is only half of it. Before you find it, you need to know which job is actually right for you - because employers want employees who really love their work. So when it comes to getting the job that’s right for you give yourself some serious kudos with potential employers, and a head start over the competition, by reading the following tips:


1: Stop asking yourself questions like:

Can I do the job (because let’s face it, you could do a job on a production line packing cucumbers, but would you really want to?)


2: Start asking yourself questions like:

What makes me happy? (Because employers want happy employees, because happy employees are more productive. And productivity makes dollar signs).

What else will motivate me in this role apart from money? (Because HR teams are constantly trying to find ways of motivate staff other than financial reward).

How does my skill set and experience match the requirements on the job description? (Because if your skills and experience are a million miles from expectation, you can expect to be one millionth in line.)


3: Figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

Employers expect knowledge and skill gaps, so start figuring out what you do well, and what you don’t do so well. Not only will this help you decide which jobs you will actually be good at, but this will help you anticipate answers to interview questions about your weaknesses, so give yourself a head start by identifying weak spots now.


4: Tailor your approach to applying for jobs.

Don’t apply for every job under the sun. Target your approach.

Make sure that the type of roles you’re applying for isn’t too broad. Organisations will store each of your applications on their applicant tracking system. So eyebrows will be raised when Microsoft (or whoever) spot your 2015 application to the Tech department seems at odds with your 2016 application to Sales. Ensure that the roles you apply for share the same DNA, and also ensure that you target a diverse range of industries.


5: Don’t just look for jobs on job boards.

Be creative with your approach to finding out where there are potential openings in the job market. Read relevant content about the companies that you’re interested in (this may give you intel on future growth plans, for instance) Talk to friends and family, follow organisations you like on Twitter, register with agencies, visit your career department and keep in contact with your alumni community.


6: Not sure how to perform well in an interview? Get some help.

Interview coaching can help develop your confidence and improve your technique in order to give you the confidence and gravitas to succeed in the interviews you face.

And finally, don’t give up!

Finding the right job takes time, but perseverance is key!