Career Advice

3 Tips When Looking for Your First Job

min read
Vera Chan

So you've just graduated from university and are looking for your first full-time role. Apart from where to look and how to go about looking for one, there are a few things you should consider.


Don't let the fear of your first position scare you into thinking that it will set the course for your whole career. Yes, there are certain roles you can hold and corporations that you hold them that may give you a leg up. But it doesn't have to be the be all and end all.


It can take up to six months to find a job after graduating, but even so, don't rush into it. Make sure you don't get fixated on unemployment traps or take on a position that is not the right fit.


Here are three top tips to think about when you are considering your first full-time job.


1. Match Your Values & Skill Sets

This is where your career starts. You can make it about the money. Or you can check to see if the role you are looking at aligns with your values and interests. Yes, earning good money can make it easier for you to save up and move on to bigger and better things. But that doesn't necessarily mean happiness. Think about why you're in it before you accept a position. Is it the cultural fit?


The ball might just be getting started to get job interviews and even job offers rolling. So don't be tempted to dive headfirst into the first job offer that comes your way. Think it through.


2. Consider Graduate Internships

There are some great learning opportunities out there that come with support. Graduate internships or placements are a great way to  help you transition. Transitioning from a full-time student to a professional can be hard. Moving from a learning centric environment to an execution-based workplace is tough. You may have collaboration down pat from your past experience with team projects. But how much do you know when it comes to applying your knowledge?


Graduate placements offer a way for graduates to ease in. Most offer an induction and orientation of sorts. Guidance can come in the form of mentorships or team building. This is a good time to test drive your skills. The environment may be more monitored, but it also allows you to make mistakes. Don't beat yourself up too much about it. This is a time to continue to learn and grow into your first professional role.


3. Consider Paid Internships

Can't find a full-time job yet? You may well have tailored your resume or CV and cover letters, and sent out many applications. If you haven't heard back, rather than sitting and twiddling your thumbs, do some short courses. This will help you stay fresh. An alternative is to consider a paid internship. Not sure if your internship will lead to a full-time role? You can express this in an internship interview.


Paid internships is a route that can lead to a full-time job. More and more companies may be using this method to try out the skills and know-how of an applicant. This will ensure that the candidate can perform well and also that they have the right cultural fit. Talent can be matched up with a permanent position and is a great opportunity for skill building. As an intern, you will get exposure to the company and decide it is for you. This can help you narrow down your choices if you decide to continue your job hunt.


The Bottom Line

Regardless of your first job, there will always be major adjustments. It may not always be the best benchmark for all future roles, especially if it is in a different industry. So don't fixate on getting it right. Instead, think about the above points and find relief in the fact that it's a learning curve. You will learn, earn and contribute along the way, building essential skills for the long run.


You may well get asked the common interview question "where do you see yourself in three years?" This forces you to focus on the bigger picture. But the key to survival and staying focused on being happy and knowing if the right job is for you, is to take baby steps. Think of each experience as a stepping stone to getting one step closer to where you want to be. Not everybody knows exactly what they want, but so long as you know what you don't want, you can go from there.


Throughout the process, you will learn a lot about yourself that will help you grow. Before you know it you will be ready to tackle your next role. Ultimately, all you need to do is focus on delivering reliable work in an efficient time manner as a key trait.

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