As a recent university graduate, I understand the anxiety and stress of finding an entry-level job. Here are a few tips on making this process a little easier and quicker for those who have just completed university.
Entry-level jobs are designated for fresh graduates with minimal professional experience.
With the number of university graduates increasing steadily worldwide, the demand for entry-level jobs has also significantly increased.
Data collected by UNESCO suggests that there has been a 170% increase in college enrolment across the African continent between 1999 and 2000.
With the growth of digitalisation and the impact of Covid-19, traditional ways of accessing entry-level jobs are fast becoming obsolete.
Whilst it is still possible to find entry-level employment using traditional methods, advanced platforms that are more effective have been created to ensure an easy experience in accessing jobs.
These platforms include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Glassdoor, The Human Capital Hub, company websites and university career portals.
These include newspaper columns or physical walk-ins in companies. The purpose of this article is to share tips on how to effectively and efficiently access entry-level jobs, particularly for students in universities and those who have graduated.
Like any other job, it would be in an individual’s best interests to start actively looking for opportunities while still in college.
Universities offer students a plethora of information about career paths, employer information, entry-level job opportunities, and so much more.
Whilst the primary outcome of going to college is to get a degree, it is also essential to understand that for the greater majority of students, that degree is meant to open doors for employment opportunities, except for those who would like to take a more entrepreneurial route.
Therefore, it is essential that university students actively position themselves in spaces that will enable them to get entry-level jobs soon after they complete their degree or even before they finish. Below is a diagram that illustrates how college students can access entry-level jobs even before they finish.
Seek Career Guidance
Research conducted in universities in the United Kingdom suggested that 51 percent of students are not confident in their career path when they enrol in college.
This clearly shows that there is a need for universities to create platforms that offer guidance to students.
Universities in Africa such as the University of Cape Town and the University of Witwatersrand have created competitive career guidance platforms that allow students access to career guidance consultants, CV-building, interview guidance, and access to employers, job openings and networking events.
Getting career guidance early will enable you to develop yourself and build your profile in a way that will make you stand out from other applicants when you begin searching for entry-level jobs.
Seeking career guidance may also give you insight into your chosen career or your employer of choice that will put you at an advantage.
Build on skills that are relevant to your chosen career path
λ Build on skills that are relevant to your chosen career path. When employers are considering people for entry-level positions, they look at the candidate’s skills and these skills are relevant to the organisation’s activities.
There are several ways one can actively build on these skills. Some methods of making these skills include being involved in voluntary work, student leadership roles, community engagement, internships, and piece jobs.
These activities go a long way in strengthening your CVs as well as setting you apart. Employers are interested in the skills gained from these experiences as they reflect whether a candidate will be able to manage the job at hand.
Connect with employers
Before sending CVs to prospective employers or applying for jobs, it is always good to connect with them and ask as many questions as possible regarding their requirements for graduate positions, the organisation’s culture, etc.
By networking with employers, you put yourself in a position where they will recall you if you apply for a job.
The holy grail for professional networking is LinkedIn, and later on, in the article, we will discuss the power of LinkedIn.
Formulating a strong CV
Once a person has done all the necessary research on prospective employers, networked with potential employers, and built the essential skills required for the entry-level job, the next step is to formulate a compelling CV that harnesses all the steps mentioned above. The best way to create a strong CV is by researching how to create a strong CV and getting others to take a look at it for you as well.
Alternatively, one can also get professional help in writing a strong CV.
Once a strong CV is created, you can apply for entry-level jobs and if the stages mentioned above are followed, getting the job should be easy.
Several platforms advertise opportunities for entry-level jobs, and these include LinkedIn, Glassdoor, News Paper Columns, The human Capital Hub, University Career Portals, Company websites, and so much more. Below is a description of these platforms.
Gone are the days when you needed a relative or family friend to connect you to have access to career development or jobs. LinkedIn has made it possible for every individual to access a network of rich and well-established professionals.
With just a click of a button, you can access CEOs, HR Business Partners, and Recruiters. More than ever, generation Z has access to a plethora of information and connections that they can leverage to get access to entry-level jobs.
Whilst LinkedIn does offer access to many job openings in the Zimbabwean context, there are limited job openings that are advertised. One would rather use LinkedIn to connect with potential employers, i.e. employers of companies you are interested in.
But before you go ahead and connect with potential employers, it is pivotal that you ensure that your LinkedIn profile is updated, highlights your career goals and ambitions, and portrays a good picture of you.
That way, an employer quickly warms up to you before they even begin to engage with you. Once a connection has been created, you can communicate with an employer, and always remember to be professional and articulate.
LinkedIn also offers the ability to find out where people you learnt with who did the same degree with you work and what they do. This allows you to understand the companies that
others with a similar background with you are working for. It would be worth your while
connecting with fellow alumni and finding out how they managed to get jobs.
University Career Service
Whilst University is all academics and fun, it is important to determine what it is you want to
get out of university. If your outcome is to be employed after completing your degree, you must utilise all the resources. University is an excellent place to network with employers.
Employers often visit university campuses to promote their companies and get potential employees.
Utilising these networking opportunities is essential. It is also worth knowing that universities have platforms that advertise job openings, and you need to leverage this.
The Human Capital Hub
This is particularly relevant to people in Zimbabwe. The human capital hub posts job openings daily, and you are guaranteed to find posts of entry-level jobs advertised.
It is worth your while to pop up on the site and check out some amazing opportunities.
Although this is fast becoming unpopular as most people prefer to use digital platforms to read their newspapers, newspapers continue to advertise job openings, including entry- level jobs.
Glassdoor is another platform that is accessible to people worldwide, where job openings of big multinational companies are posted.
The most significant advantage of Glassdoor is that it allows job searchers to see reviews of different companies by current and past employees.
It also allows potential employees to see prospective salaries and determine if the company is really what they want.
Many company websites, such as those for the big four companies, Deloitte, EY, PWC and KPMG, advertise opportunities on their company websites.
They post rich information about
how to access opportunities in their companies. If you are looking for an entry-level position, this is your best stop
Mutsawashe Musvaire is a consultant at the Industrial Psychology Consultants, a management and Human resources consultants company. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org