Standing Out in Your Job Search:
Essential Tips for Landing Your First Job

As a scientific recruitment company, we often encounter this common question from graduates and new candidates, “What’s the best way to search for a job, especially when there’s so much competition?” Answering this question isn’t a straightforward one, as the process of landing a job is different for everyone. 

The job market isn’t always easy to navigate, but we’re here to provide you with valuable tips to help you stand out from the crowd on your journey of searching for your first job.

Build a Strong Network

Using your network is more than just browsing LinkedIn and connecting with acquaintances. Start building relationships with peers, mentors, professors, and supervisors during your student years. Gain work experience and embrace part-time opportunities to demonstrate your commitment and willingness to learn.

Your Online Presence Matters

Create an online profile with your updated CV to increase your visibility to recruiters and HR representatives who rely on job portals like Pnet and Career Junction. Don’t miss out on potential opportunities due to a lack of online presence. And don’t forget to clean up your personal social media profiles (or at least set them to private). Your social media accounts may be personal, but you don’t want to give anyone researching you online a bad first impression.

Optimise Your CV

Craft a concise, well-structured CV that highlights your skills and experiences. Research CV templates online, seek feedback from peers and family, and ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Tailor your CV with relevant keywords to increase the chances of being noticed by recruiters who often use keyword searches or applicant tracking systems (ATSs).

Cast a Wide Net

Utilise multiple mediums in your job search. Explore job boards, sign up for job notifications, visit individual company websites, leverage LinkedIn, join career fairs, and don’t overlook local newspapers or magazines related to your field.

Tailor Your Applications

When filling out a job application, review your CV and cover letter to ensure they reflect your suitability for the position. Keep your cover letter concise yet informative, explaining why you are an ideal fit for the role of the advertised job title in a paragraph.

Apply Smartly

Only apply for jobs that align with your capabilities. Assess the job requirements and determine if you meet at least 85% of the criteria listed in the job description. If not, consider whether you can provide a compelling explanation of how your existing credentials and relevant experiences make you a strong candidate. Blanket applications rarely impress recruiters in the small science job market.

Embrace Adaptability

While having a clear career path is essential, be open to different opportunities. Sometimes, gaining experience in a related field, even if it’s not directly aligned with your academic qualification, can open unexpected doors and expand your skill set.

Stay Busy

If you’re currently unemployed, consider taking on part-time work. This not only provides you with valuable experience and transferable skills, but also keeps you occupied during your job search. Additionally, networking opportunities can arise unexpectedly in part-time roles.

Be Responsive and Professional

Respond promptly to recruiters or companies that express interest in your application. This showcases your availability and commitment to the job search process. Timely communication helps create a positive impression.

Interview with Integrity

During interviews, be honest about your abilities and knowledge. Overselling yourself is not valued by recruiters or potential employers. Seek clarity if a question is unclear to ensure your responses are accurate. Make eye contact and don’t forget to smile!

Be Authentic

Above all, be true to yourself and present yourself honestly. Authenticity is a trait that stands out and resonates with recruiters and employers.

Remember, Persistence Pays Off

Job vacancies can open and close quickly. Be proactive and regularly check job boards. Aim to submit your CV as early as possible to increase your chances of being considered in the initial shortlisting process.

By incorporating these tips into your job search strategy, you’ll enhance your chances of standing out and securing that coveted first job in a competitive job market. Remember, persistence, professionalism, and a strong network can make a significant difference in your journey to career success.