Getting your first job after graduation can be intimidating, but with a little effort and a nudge in the right direction you will find yourself in your dream job before you know it.

Talk to people

It’s not what you know, but who you know, right? And you already know people. Lots of them.

Chat to your teachers, they have a wealth of industry knowledge. Get in touch with industry contacts you’ve made while studying. Let your friends and family know you’re on the hunt. If you find out Aunt Mildred shares scone recipes with someone you’d love to get a job with, don’t be too embarrassed to ask for an introduction. Or even better, whip up a few scones of your own and invite Aunt Mildred’s friend over for a cup of tea.

A huge chunk of jobs go unadvertised and are filled internally or by word-of-mouth. The more conversations you have, the higher the likelihood of you hearing about secret positions on offer.

Social media

There’s no escaping it, social media is where it’s at when it comes to networking.

Have you got a LinkedIn account? If you don’t, go change that. Now. We’ll wait. Check out the people of influence in your area and industry. If you find mutual friends ask them to vouch for your amazing skills. Don’t be shy, reach out and let people know that you’re amazing and available.

But, remember that social media is not a one way street; check your own accounts too. Is there anything on your Facebook page you wouldn’t want your employers to see? Those photos from your last trip down the Gold Coast? You should probably take care of that.

Embed yourself

Are you looking at getting into journalism? Find a writing group. Wanting to work your way into business? Track down your local Chamber of Commerce or tourism board. Join a community organisation like Rotary or the Lions Club or a women’s networking group. Volunteer to be on a community board or take up tennis or golf at your local sports club. Join a community gardening group, a dance group or book club if that’s what really floats your boat.

The point is you need to be where the people are. Who knows, your future boss might have a green thumb. Even if it doesn’t immediately yield job results you’ll be getting out and doing something you enjoy and expanding your circle. It’s win-win.

Find a mentor

Where do you see yourself? Who do you admire? Was there a particular teacher or guest lecturer that oozed passion for your mutual industry? Send them a personalised email and let them know they inspired you. Take them out for a coffee or a beer and ask them for advice. Don’t be pushy but show an interest and be genuine.

Impress your boss/colleagues and clients

Treat your less-than-ideal job as your dream job.

It can be hard, we’ve all been there, but that lady you serve coffee to may be the CEO of a company you want to join. That guy you pour schooners for might be on the look-out for the next superstar. Your boss in the supermarket deli may switch careers and think ‘what ever happened to that wonderful employee who wrapped cold cuts with such an air of professionalism?’ That’s who I need to head this project’.

It’s a long-term investment but the pay-offs are worth it. Plus, being miserable is exhausting.

Now go out there and show the world what you’re made of. Don’t forget to smile – you never know who is hiring mode.


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