This is a question that we have all asked ourselves at some point in our careers. I tend to be a bit too conservative when I am job hunting and prefer to under sell and over deliver. This is not always the best approach however, because many would be employers may decide that you lack confidence. People who know me might be surprised that I prefer to under sell myself because very few would accuse me of lacking confidence. Once I have a task, I tend to push myself to make sure that I over deliver in several different ways.
I usually start a new task by getting as far outside the box as possible. The view from there allows me to entertain solutions that would not have been considered possible. In many cases these ideas prove to be impossible, but sometimes changes in technology make the impossible, possible. Selling a new radically different idea is not always the easiest or most cost effective way to address a problem, but it is one of the ways we innovate.
What does that have to do with this post? Well this is the result of one of those “outside the box” ideas that has worked for me and could work for you. Since this is the end of April and the end of another University year, I wanted to target this at new grads.
When you are looking for that first job, don’t get too hung up on the wording of the ads. Every ad is going to ask for experience and you will be light in that area. Compensate with your youthful energy and let the employer know that you understand his problem space and that you can contribute. You have just finished the most intense period of work in your entire life and you will find yourself well prepared to put in a few extra hours at a new job to get up to speed. Tell you employer that you are not afraid to do so.
If you find the ideal job and you really want to prove to your employer that you can do the work, suggest a period where you will work for free to prove your worth. An employer will not accept that offer unless he/she believes that the prospect of a job is possible.
- A job add means that a company is staffing up.
- Ads always ask for more than they expect to get.
- You can’t get something if you don’t ask.
- Your knowledge is fresh and current.
- You bring a youthful energy that most company’s want and need.
- You don’t cost a lot compared to senior staff.
- You can work harder and still have way more free time than you had at university.
So the answer to the question is “Yes”, you can do that job and you should apply. Use the job boards to determine who is hiring, but don’t be depressed if the jobs posted are no longer available. Job boards are often out of date. Apply to the companies that are staffing up by using previous postings to suggest how you can contribute.
Expect the job hunt to take a few months and wake up every day with the goal to arrange meetings with people for coffee and lunch. Collect potential leads and apply to a few jobs each day. Finding a job is a full time job.
Great post Fred! I have come to learn much of what you write in your post and every university grad and in fact anyone looking for work can learn much from you and your experience. Your post reminded me of this article I read by Richard Branson about saying “yes” and learning to do it later ( http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/say-yes-then-learn-how-to-do-it-later ). It is an easy trap to fall into to disqualify ourselves for a job before we have been given a chance. Very timely post and much appreciated.
Good advice! I have received a lot of encouragement as well as learnt some very important things from you. You are a true mentor.