It can be all too easy to lose heart when job hunting at any stage in your career, but that first job hunt can be particularly hard says Amy Ross.
The situation is probably something like this – you have a whole cluster of qualifications (GCSEs, A Levels, maybe also a diploma or a degree) but in terms of work experience, you are limited to the Saturday job/summer job making coffee, stacking shelves. You chose that job because it fitted in with your studies. As such the hunt for your first proper job can be a series of demoralising rejections because of lack of proper experience in your chosen field.
Here are my tips for staying motivated in this job hunt
Whilst you are being rejected because you lack experience, you are gaining experience through the application and interview process. Always ask for feedback on applications and interviews. You may not always be given it but, if you are, you will gain an understanding of what it is these types of employers are looking for. You can begin to tailor your application and interview answers to better match their specification (although without lying as this benefits no one!)
For every unsuccessful interview, you should gain more confidence in meeting new people & develop a language to sell yourself to a potential employer. In the next interview, you may not be as nervous and may give stronger and more concise answers. Whilst you may not be successful in the particular role that you are applying for, you are building a network of contacts within your chosen industry. Should another role come up, you will already know who to contact and what to expect from them.
All companies are run differently and, by attending a number of interviews you shall build an idea of the type of company you want to work for; you may decide you’d feel more comfortable in an open plan office, that you’d rather work for a company with a smart dress code than a casual one or that you’d prefer to work flexibly instead of in a fixed 9-5 role. In this way you shall be able to prioritise your future job hunt to companies that share your work ethic.
Whilst you are in the job hunt process and may not be working, you have the time (which shall be limited once that job is found) to complete some voluntary work. In doing so, you will be improving your CV and applications and gaining that crucial experience.
Whilst it is demoralising to feel like the hours put into the application process are wasted, this is untrue – as much as a potential employer may feel that you are not right for the job, the job (and the company) may not be right for you. At some point, the perfect job will arise and you’ll be far better prepared for it than you were before you started the hunt.
Amy Ross is an accounting technician and former AAT student.