Updated: Oct 26, 2019
Take it from a University Student, It can be difficult but it’s achievable.
Author: Julia De la Puente
Getting Job Skills and an Education is an important investment in yourself
One of the main goals of Personal Finance is about achieving the financial goals that you set out. However, as we all know it is sometimes difficult to achieve some of those goals, even when you do try your best. Take for example, finding a job, which is a very important component to finances. You cannot achieve your financial goals if you have no job and are gaining no experience.
Getting job skills and an education is an investment in yourself, yet this very important component of finance is one of the most difficult to overcome when you’re younger. Even when university students do everything correctly, they could still end up with high debt and no job prospects. It’s a tough market and many young students understand this. Take myself, I am a student who has realized the difficulties of finding a job to obtain the critical skills needed to develop my career.
When you are fresh out of high school and attending university, chances are your resume is empty or lacking the experience to show your value. This is not surprising since the focus was on getting into university, not getting skills for a job. The problem is that tuition is not cheap; it’s expensive and scholarships are rare to obtain, so we need money to help us through university since most of us do not want to be burdened with high debt.
When looking for a job, however, you can quickly encounter the difficulties in finding a job when you have little to no experience. Most employers demand at least a years worth of experience for a good job but that’s hard when you’re young and focused on school.
“Finding a job takes time and patience, there is no guarantee but you can do it"
Here are a few things that I have found helpful when it comes to increasing your chances of obtaining a job as a young adult:
1) There is no “unworthy” job: within the boundaries of legality. I am not saying that being a “hitman” is a respectable job, every job you can find is decent and helpful to your overall professional growth. One of the first mistakes young students make when looking for a job is that they narrow their search. If you are someone that has little experience, the probability of you getting hired is low, therefore, increasing your job pool is a good strategy to getting a job and thus adding some points to your resume.
2) Think ahead: although casual work can be good because of flexible schedules and tends to be easier to get, it reads differently in your resume. Someone that has been working for a year as a barista in Starbucks is more appealing to an employer than someone that has been working with a catering company for a year but only works 3 or 4 times a month. Employers like to see that you are someone they can depend on and that will stick around. It is a red flag for most employers to see that the applicant has been jumping from job to job; three months here, two months there. Hiring new people is like an investment, it takes time and resources, so employers want to do it as little as possible; this means sticking with a group of employees long-term. It is recommendable to choose jobs that you know you that can stick with for more than a couple of months. This will look far better in your resume. Remember, a long resume isn’t necessarily a good thing.
3) Pro-bono: Getting your first job is hard, but volunteering is easy. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to show in your resume what your interests are, the skills you’ve acquired and your overall motivation to work. These are all things that an employer is interested in. If you’re someone that has no work experience and is trying to improve their resume, being a volunteer is a great way to give your resume more value in the eyes of a potential employer. Plus, you’ll learn new things and you’ll meet new people, which takes me to my next point
4) Having contacts: most of our first jobs came from someone we knew hiring us; either your mother’s friend or your uncle Kevin. This is true for a lot of people and it doesn’t stop at your first job. Having contacts will always be an asset when you're job hunting as they can help you get your foot in the door. Volunteering is a great way for you to meet new people and they can eventually be the ones that refer you to someone looking to hire. Referrals are a very effective way to at least get an interview.
5) Cover letters: Lastly, this is one is the savior for those who have a young resume. Cover
letters allow you to express to the employer all the unquantifiable attributes you possess that show off your work ethic. Your work ethic is the most valuable thing you possess; an experienced person with a bad work ethic is not as good an employee as an inexperienced person with a good one. You can always learn new skills but your work ethic is harder to sharpen. Cover letters will be the place where the employer will get to know your work ethic. So my advice is to take your time while writing a cover letter since they can be what makes or breaks your case.
I know looking for jobs as a young professional is filled with rejection and can be very frustrating. These are a few things that I’ve found useful, but overall it takes a lot of patience and dedication. I wish you all good luck in your job hunt. Use a clean t-shirt for your interviews!