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    We all thought finding a job would be easy. We followed the ‘rules’ by showcasing our educational history, past experiences and our competencies on Microsoft office. But job hunting is the biggest lesson in perseverance, patience and a bit of luck. If you are just beginning your job search or you have been on the journey for a while, you would know it is not as smooth sailing as people have made it out to be. In many ways, job hunting is a job in itself.

    Very few people secure their dream job in their first round of the job search. This means that you’ll have to accept the fact that you’ll juggle applications and rejections whilst motivating yourself to keep going when it all becomes unbearable. This may be the first time you experience a long period with no known end date in sight in the job search space so it’s up to you to plan your job hunt. While this all may sound like doom and gloom, do not be deterred. There is still a silver lining because you now have been afforded flexibility and freedom: a chance to take control of how you prioritise your time and work out what you want out of life.

    Finding your first job as a graduate is a daunting task at the best of times, even more so in today’s challenging economic climate. Here are some survival tips to get to where you want to be:

    Don’t sleep on your portfolio and profile

    A creative career search involves a creative and active approach. Remember your portfolio is your first introduction to the person hiring; so make it count. Make sure they can’t forget about you, by becoming a walking advert. Build an online profile presence for possible employers to have quick access to your body of work. Create or update a professional profile on LinkedIn so recruiters have access to you. It also might be a good time to get a professional email address with your name and surname. Get rid of the email with your pet’s name. Also, ask a friend, colleague or family member to read over any material that prospective employers might peruse to pick up any grammatical errors and give you feedback.

    Read: [ Grabbing the attention you want]

    Find your focus: Identify your career goals

    It is important to identify what type of career you want. This is especially important so you are not applying for the wrong jobs but instead, focusing on roles that you are passionate about. Narrowing down your career goals is good for first-time job seekers who have many options to wade through. By being specific around the type of career you want, you are providing clarity and saving time and effort by not applying to every job available.

    Apply for the job no matter what

    Apply with confidence to the jobs that you partly meet the requirements. Depending on the job description, employers are willing to hire people who demonstrate that they are fast learners and will provide them with the skills they need, to grow. There is no time like the present. Silence the voice that says you can’t and adapt the why not mentality to get you closer to your career goals

    While you wait, expand your skills

    If you are just starting out or wanting to switch career paths, you might need more training or experience. Consider doing short courses or getting an internship to build your work experience and skillset. Downloading the Trace Academia app is a good place to start. The app offers free courses at your disposal. Once completed, include them on your CV to help get you that perfect job. Often times, job hunting is a brutal game of patience but using your time effectively will lead you to where you want to be eventually. Furthermore, the app, provides you with access to job boards. Utilise this feature to help you land that next role of your dreams.

    Dealing with the inevitable, rejection

    It’s an unfortunate fact, but as a graduate jobseeker, a certain amount of rejection is inevitable. One way to get over rejection quickly is to not take it too personally. Remember, you are often competing against hundreds of eager candidates for one position which means they too have also received rejection letters. Or sometimes radio silence. Once you’ve had a chance to come to terms with the employer’s decision, it can be tempting to brush the experience aside and never think of it again. Take the time to feel disappointed but don’t wallow. Your plan B needs your attention. There is always room to improve, so use any setbacks to shed light on the areas that need your attention.

    The interview stage, now what?

    It is easy to forget that you might get to the interview stage because the weight of rejection letters is all you can think about. But do not underestimate the interview process by not being ready to showcase your talents and get hired. Prepare. Prepare. And prepare. Do your research by reading the company culture, identify problems that the company is trying to solve and ask questions at the end of the interview.

    The job search process might seem intimidating and demoralising during these unprecedented times. However, the tips provided will not only assist with reducing the stress attached to the entire process but, more importantly, you will be advantageously situated in securing the job you desire.

    In need of more career advice? Read our article on how to network and grow relationships to achieve your career goals.