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Graduate preparation for first job

Life after Graduation – getting your ducks in a row for your first job

The finish line is in sight… you are almost there! After many years of late-night studying, exams, classes and lectures you are getting ready to rock your graduation gown and take your first step into formal employment. This can be nerve-wracking for some, exciting for others, and down-right mind-blowing for those who have been dreaming of seeing their first pay cheque boosting their usually depressing bank balance. But going from student to full-time employee need some work and preparation to make the transition all you hoped for.

Here are five steps you can take to make sure you are prepared for life after formal education:

Step 1: Get all your paperwork in order

If you haven’t got a smart ID card or a passport, it’s time to get that sorted out – this is priority number 1. You may need both for applying for jobs, especially if you are applying outside of South Africa. Next on the paperwork list is your CV. There are many templates online that you could use to develop a professional CV. Get someone with a good eye to check your spelling and grammar – first impressions with recruiters do count. And finally, make sure you have all your certificates filed and ready – certify copies too.

Step 2: Set aside a smart outfit for interviews

Make sure it is clean, ironed and ready at all times. You never know when you will be asked to go for an interview and spending time researching the company in preparation for the interview is more beneficial than stressing over what to wear.

Step 3: Find a recruitment agency

Recruitment agencies will help you tweak your CV and coach you in how to approach interviews. This will also help you with future interviews when there is no recruiter involved. Be open to any positions the recruiter offers, sometimes getting your foot in the door is more beneficial than waiting for that dream job. You can always work your way up to your dream job if you have a great work ethic or at very least gain some experience for your CV.

Step 4: Set goals

Set a realistic goal of applying for three jobs every day – this number depends on how easy it is for you to get online. It is important to write a cover letter that is specific to each job application. You’ll need to ‘sell’ yourself by telling the recruiter why you are the best candidate for the roles and responsibilities of the job. Sometimes you may even need to tweak your CV to line up with the roles and responsibilities of the job you are applying for.

Step 5: Keep learning while in limbo

Why not set some learning goals too – to keep your brain active and your mindset positive? You could sign up for online courses and upskill while you are job hunting. Sometimes finding a job can take time, so use that time productively by developing your skills and talents.

If you are still feeling like those employment ducks are not sitting in a neat enough row for you, here are some interesting resources to check out:

Interview preparation

Career coaching

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