Going from student to graduate is an amazing feeling – for 5 minutes! Then suddenly you’re pushed through these double doors that lead into the real world and left standing there thinking “What now?”
This is exactly what happened to me after 3 years of studying Fashion Promotion at University. Armed with a degree and a CV, I began the job hunt. If I’m honest, it was very intimidating but I survived to tell the tale and have some real career hacks to offer you.
Take job descriptions seriously
A smart career girl knows that a job description is a first stage interview. How? Because that’s your opportunity to quiz YOURSELF on how best to demonstrate the skills the role requires.
For example, a job description says:
- Strong spoken and written communication skills
- Assist in the planning, execution and managing of projects
- An excellent understanding of the marketplace including competitor brands
With this information in tow, sit down and work on tailoring your CV. Make the necessary edits to clearly highlight how you possess the experience and skillset! This will make it much easier for recruiters to extract the information they’re looking for.
Change your approach to research
What is your approach when researching a company? Do you look at their recent projects, check their website and so on…
Whilst this is a good start, there’s a deeper, more meaning form a research that you probably aren’t doing. I’ve made the mistake of forgetting to look into ‘Company Culture’. Even though a role may be perfect for you, the day-to-day office vibe and overall company values may not be.
In short, company culture is another name for ‘personality’. Would you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (plus overtime) with someone with a horrible personality? If the answers no, then you understand my point.
So how do you work out what a company’s culture is BEFORE actually getting a job? There are a few ways. Firstly, you can use Glassdoor to read company reviews from anonymous employees and former employees. LinkedIn helps too. Being the largest careers platform, companies endeavour to show off their culture on LinkedIn by uploading employee interviews, speaking about the charity work they’re involved in and any other general employee appreciation initiatives.
Top Tip: If you constantly notice a company advertising vacancies, this could mean they have a high employee turnover rate. This could be the result of many factors, with poor company culture being one.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
With a better understanding of what company culture actually is from career hack number 2, are you left wanting to know more? Brilliant – we have more tips for this!
Use LinkedIn to find people at junior or mid-level positions who’ve worked for the companies you’re interested in. Send a short and simple InMail, first asking if they’d be kind enough to answer a few questions you have about the company. If they say yes, here are some ideas on what to follow up with:
- What was the everyday working environment like?
- What was the structure of the team?
- What were the overall challenges?
- What was your favourite thing about working for the company?
Not only do you look proactive but you can end up getting some tips for the interview from people who’ve gone before you.
Top Tip: Don’t be too invasive or pushy! The goal is to learn more about the company, not about the individual.
Identify your motivation
The best questions you can ask yourself during the job hunt is “WHY?”
Why do I want to be a stylist? Why do I enjoy writing? Why is this my dream company?
Having a strong ‘why’ will set your attitude and push you to go harder for what you really want. Nobody warns you about how long it will take to get a job, how many interviews you’ll go on and how many rejection emails you’ll receive. And even if you’re prepared for this, it may still get you down. Maintaining self-belief in the face of rejection is a matter of standing firm on your ‘WHY’ and not quitting before you reach your goal.
Top Tip: Write down 3 why’s and read them every time you sit down to apply for roles.
Which of these areas have you been completely overlooking? Will you be investigating company culture from now on? Tailoring your CV for greater impact? Using LinkedIn in a way you never thought to? Or finally, setting a positive-only zone when applying for jobs?