Getting the ideal internship or your first graduate employment can be very difficult. You might have the right skills that employers need and be the perfect candidate to add real value to a company’s goals or objectives, but sometimes knowing how to position yourself to grab juicy opportunities helps.
I am still of the opinion that there are a lot of job vacancies available to graduates, but most of you might not be privy to them.
Come let’s explore the different strategies or avenues to secure the best internship or job opportunities available.
- Map out the companies you will like to work for: You have to be deliberate about where you want to start your career journey. Where do you want to acquire your training or relevant skills for the future? When you have all these companies mapped out, you can now identify the opportunities available in their outfit. Read wide, be on the lookout for companies doing things you are passionate about and would like to be a part of.
- Sign onto LinkedIn: Never heard of LinkedIn? Kindly google it. A great platform to build your profile, professional network and discover opportunities globally. You get the opportunity to learn more about what people are doing and job opportunities available, as well as connect with professionals. You can use this tool to brand yourself and be sought after by potential employers and investors, depending on the message you put out there through your LinkedIn page. You need to treat this platform as a professional one, unlike your Facebook, Twitter, and other fun social media pages. Learn to use your LinkedIn page to attract recruiters, business partners or potential investors.
‘Employers/Recruiters are always searching for candidates to offer employment or internship opportunities, so strategically position yourself.’
- Check company websites: Some companies advertise job or internship vacancies on their website. Always check JOBS/CAREERS section on their website. Should there be any role(s) available that is of interest, make sure you have read all the requirements and are suitable for the job.
- Attend networking events: Staying in your shell does not always help. There are times that you need to reach out/connect with people. Ever heard of recommendation? Yes people get opportunities through recommendations, and they are mostly through the people they engaged with at networking events such as career fairs, conferences, seminars, etc.
So the next time you hear of any event and decide to attend, you have to be strategic about the people you connect with.
‘Most people are fond of keeping to themselves while at an event – Not again!’
With this in mind it does not mean you become a butterfly at events, trying to be all over the place. Introduce yourself, exchange complimentary cards/phone numbers/emails, wear a genuine smile and always have an open mind.
- Show up ready: Opportunities may slip away just because you didn’t appear ready. This can either be as a result of the way you were dressed, little knowledge or research in your field of interest, outdated documents, etc. For every move you make, always know what is required and act accordingly.
‘Be on top of your game at all times’.
I believe these few points will serve as a guide while making your first or next career step. Yes I agree it’s really tough out there, but other people are also getting great job opportunities – so why not you?
Written by Akua Ampah