How many times have you gone through a job description, having seen it advertised as ‘entry-level’, only to find 2+ years industry experience required? It’s frustrating for graduates and young professionals to search tirelessly for jobs that are at their skill level, but why aren’t ‘entry-level’ jobs really entry level?
Nowadays, internships have taken the place of entry-level jobs. It’s no longer enough to simply study hard and get your certificate or degree, you have to volunteer alongside this, get an unpaid internship while you work on your final project. It’s no longer enough for a young professional to hand their Bachelor’s degree to a company and get hired. While this is discouraging, there is plenty you can do to enhance your CV and increase your chances of landing an entry-level job!
Do volunteer work:
Whether industry-focused or not, doing volunteer work will have you gaining skills and experience that you can add to your CV and that are transferrable to various opportunities. For example, working in customer service will give you experience managing and building relationships, which will be transferrable to a client-facing job in the future. It’s all about how to relate those skills to your goals.
Being in-between roles or new to the working world is a great time to try out online courses. This will fill gaps in your career, whilst also bettering your skillset to suit your goals. Some great sites to look at for this are Udemy, SkillShare and New Skills Academy, which I used myself for a Digital Marketing course while I was on furlough last year.
Use your platforms:
Whether you’re interested in working in copywriting or video editing, you can use the platforms you have around you to enhance those skills. Keep a blog and add a link to that on your CV, write LinkedIn articles about issues that matter to you and pin these to your profile. It’s all about making your skills visible and accessible to potential employers. If you’re a creative, put your work online, practice video editing for your own social media, start your own YouTube channel to display your work! It doesn’t have to be part of a company to be part of your experience!
Don’t forget, you’re at the beginning:
It’s easy to be on the brink of graduating, or job-searching for several months on the hunt for your dream job. But you’re only just starting out. The start of your career is all about experience and finding those stepping-stones to lead you in the right direction. We cannot simply expect to hand an employer our degrees and be given the opportunity of a lifetime, it’s all part of a journey, and not something to beat yourself up about. Whether or not your first job is in your field, or even something you particularly saw yourself doing long-term, see these roles as an opportunity to learn new skills and translate these into what you hope to do one day.
It can be disheartening, searching endlessly for jobs in a society where so many others are doing the same, many of which being more experienced professionals that have found themselves in unemployment due to the pandemic. But you are at the beginning, and the pandemic hasn’t been a kind influence on the job market. Use the time you aren’t tied down in a job to explore your career goals, look at your experience and learn new skills. A rejection, while unsettling, comes with a silver lining. Always request feedback, this can be useful for future applications. interview experience is always a confidence builder. While you might not land the job you are building a network of people in your industry and making yourself a more knowledgeable candidate for what employers are looking for.
A final tip is something I find personally helpful – I have always found it useful to remind myself that what will be, will be. If an opportunity is meant for me, I will get it, and if it isn’t, that wasn’t going to help me on my journey anyway.