Building your career can have its challenges, especially if you’ve just graduated, as you are more likely to find yourself competing against people with better qualifications than you. But there is a bright side; If you can show a recruiter that you developed your skills through hard work and initiative, you’re not just demonstrating technical talents, you’re also highlighting positive character traits such as determination and an appetite to learn and grow
Here are five career-building tips to help you kickstart your career.
1. Get experience
Internships are a great way to rack up work experience when trying to get a foothold into any industry. Most employment surveys reveal that the majority of employers look for relevant work experience as well as qualifications when interviewing.
2. Sign up for a volunteering placement
Experience as a volunteer makes an application stand out according to employers, as a volunteering placement will help you develop desirable skills and the experience which employers seek. Also stepping out of your comfort zone and into a challenging environment means you need to learn to be independent, organised and self-reliant. It builds your confidence, forces you to work on your communication abilities and rewards initiative.
3. Build your portfolio
If you want to work in any industry that depends on impressions, personality and communication, you need to be effective at promoting your achievements. An old-school printed portfolio is useful, but only for face-to-face interviews while a brilliant CV and LinkedIn profile is important but still may not be enough. Creating your own online portfolio which can be sent out easily helps turn you literally into a brand.
4. Network the network circuit
Career networking has really taken off over the last couple of years with most sectors organising events. Honing your networking skills is essential. So be open about it, to begin with, and remember that it’s all about keeping your options open and you never what useful contact you might meet.
5. Have an opinion
To take your career to the next level, you’ll need to have a point of view or an informed opinion. Know the trends in the industry you’re trying to break into and know where that industry is heading to or how tech has disrupted it. And remember that while interesting is good and original is better, it’s always the balance between the two which leaves the best impression.