Entry-level jobs are jobs which are designated for fresh graduates with minimal professional experience. With the number of university graduates increasing steadily across the world the demand of 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 more so the impact of Covid-19, traditional ways of accessing entry-level jobs are fast becoming obsolete. These include newspaper columns or physical walk-ins in companies. Whilst it is still possible to find entry-level jobs 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 to mention a few. The purpose of this article is to share tips on how to effectively and efficiently access entry- level jobs particularly for students in universities as well as those who have graduated.
Like any other job, it would be in an individual’s best interests to start actively looking for opportunities whilst they are 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 main outcome of going to college is to get a degree, it is also important to understand that for the great majority of students , that degree is meant to open doors for employment opportunities, with the exception of those who would like to take a more entrepreneurial route. It is therefore important 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 opportunities to 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 enroll in college. This clearly shows that there is a need to for universities to create platforms that offer guidance to students. Universities in Africa such as the University of Cape Town and the University of Witswaterand have created competitive career guidance platforms that allow students to have access to career guidance consultants, CV building, interview guidance as well as access to employers, job openings and networking events. Getting career guidance early , allows 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 for career guidance may also give you incite about 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
- Build on skills that are relevant to your chosen career path. When employers are considering people for entry- level positions , they mainly look at the candidates skills, and if these skills are relevant to the activities of the organisation. There are several ways one can actively build on these skills. Some ways of building these skills include being involved in voluntary work, student leadership roles, community engagement , internships as well as piece jobs. These activities go a long way in strengthening your CVs as well setting you apart. Employers are interested in the skills that are gained from these experiences as they are a reflection of 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 a good idea to connect with them and ask as many questions as possible regarding their requirements for graduate positions ,the culture of the organisation etc. By networking with employers you put yourself in a position where they will recall you in the event that you apply for a position. 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 as well as built the necessary skills that are necessary 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 doing thorough research on the internet on how to create a strong CV and by 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 then apply for entry-level jobs and if the stages mentioned above are followed then getting the job should be easy.
There are several platforms that 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 where you needed a relative or family friend to connect you in order to have access to career development or jobs. LinkedIn has made is possible for every individual, to have access to a network of rich and well-established professionals. In just a click of a button you can have access to CEOs, HR partners and hiring personal. 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 a lot of job openings in the Zimbabwean context, there are limited job openings that are advertised. One would rather use LinkedIn to connect with potential employers, ie employers of companies that you are interest in. But before you go ahead and connect with potential employers it is pivotal that you ensure that your LinkedIn profile is updated and 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 have an understanding of 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 then it is important that you utilise all the resources. University is a great place to network with employers. Employers often visit university campuses to promote their companies and get potential employees. Utilising these networking opportunities is important. It is also worth knowing that universities have platforms that advertise job openings so people can also leverage on this.
The Human Capital Hub
This is particularly relevant to people in Zimbabwe. The human capital hub posts job openings on a daily basis 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 get read their newspapers, News-papers continue to advertise job openings including entry-level jobs. In Zimbabwe the Sunday Mail as well as the Financial Gazette are papers to look out for when searching for entry- level jobs
Glassdoor is another platform that is accessible to people all over the world, where job openings of big multinational companies are posted. The biggest advantage of Glassdoor is that it allows job searchers to see reviews of different companies by current and past employees. It also allows for potential employees to see prospective salaries and determine if the company is really what they want.
A lot of company websites such as those for the big 4 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