By Jasmijn de Baan
As a Recruiter, it is the most asked question from anyone who has just received their hard-earned diploma.
Like so many others, I started my education five years ago with all the gleam and pride of someone who thought they were getting the best start in life. Cause not everyone makes it up to university. And at that time it was literally said: ‘no matter what field of study you choose, you will have a job within a short period of time’. Five years later, the unemployment plague is a stark reality. Starter positions are relatively scarce, and the jobs available are usually met by hundreds of candidates applying (300 to 400 candidates for one job opening is rather a rule than an exception). The competition is murderous and (sadly), you can expect your group of competitors growing every half year. Unless you are in IT of course.
After my graduation, I sent countless job applications (some of which took me several hours to fill in). And I was very soon very tired of rejections and waiting for emails that never came. It was annoying, depressing and crushing for my self esteem. I graduated with flying colors and I was full of potential. But I just could not find a job. I was held back by the smiling, sleazy sales machine, commonly known as the recruiter.
These days, the power lies with these matchmakers. Though the recruiters’ job looks like it is more substantial now, they are suffering from a dreadful reputation that is quite synonymous when cowboys enter the field. And, I must say, most of the times the stereotypes meet reality. They became a thorn at my side, thwarting my noble efforts at every turn. It seemed I was destined for a life of destitution, until one day, I finally ended up with a job… as a recruiter(!)
It might be interesting for you to know what recruiters really think. Trust me, there are plenty of jobs for starters. But somehow, you are not finding them and the recruiters cannot find you. So where does it go wrong?
The answer is, sell yourself (and yes, this can be done in a pleasant and delicate way). If you want a job, make it easier for the recruiter (even I wish this was the other way around). Even the most sleaziest recruiter wants nothing more than pleasant candidates, who meet the requirements and are searchable. Do not miss the boat and please ask yourself:
– Do you match the job description? Or, most common for a starter; do you have the experience required? If not, do not even bother applying. At least 75% of the people applying are seen as ‘unfit’ for the job and recruiters usually only need 6 seconds to determine whether your CV is interesting enough. Instead of wasting your hours on applying, go out there and spend your time finding job openings that actually fit you.
– Are you really putting yourself out there? It gets more common for recruiters not to post a job and make a selection out of those applying, but to look actively for the so-called ‘latent-jobseekers’. In this way, the recruiters know they will only speak to those who fit the profile. But in order to do this, you do need to be able to be found. And maybe more important: say what you want. What do you aspire? In what direction do you want to move? Would you like to do something in marketing? Then say you want to pursue a career in marketing. Do not be shy. It will help recruiters find you.
– You put all hope on job boards? The thing is, job-boards are expensive. So companies are avoiding it more and more. Posting one vacancy on a job-board costs thousands and then the employees have to go through all those CV’s (which costs money again). Far too expensive and time consuming (and of course we cannot afford that). Try to get your focus more on social media (find vacancies on LinkedIn, Twitter, even Facebook is up and coming).
– Are you actually networking? Like really? You can network day and night, in any place at any time with anyone. Are you doing that? If you are looking for a job, do not be afraid to network. Over the Summer I was considering what careers I might really want to pursue. HR and Recruitment sounded unreachable (it was not really the direction of my studies), yet something I was highly interested in. During a bike trip on a sunny afternoon, I discussed this casually with a friend of a friend. He recommended me to his recruitment lady. One coffee with this lady resulted in two interviews, and now, months later, I am advising people of my age how to get work. Say what you want, say it to everyone you know and always ask for advice.
Good luck job hunting!
Follow us on Twitter at @NameThisSoon
Get all the updates on Facebook