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HOW TO APPLY FOR THAT JOB WHEN ONLINE APPLICATIONS JUST AREN’T WORKING Finding a job is challenging. It’s much more difficult to find a job when you’ve recently graduated from college with this hip new degree. You’ve spent hours reading job ads in a profession you’re even vaguely interested in, and you finally find an entry-level position with entry-level pay, only to discover that they require you to be under a particular age and have at least five years of work experience (a college degree does not qualify!). Knowing that your efforts to stand out from the throng are in vain because you simply lack what they are seeking to fill that vacant position on their staff team can be extremely frustrating.

Finding your first job after college can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how to differentiate yourself from the competition the next time you submit an application.

MAKE NETWORKS Who you know matters more than what you know. Did you know that more than half of the positions that are open are not advertised? This is due to the so-called hidden job market, a treasure trove of open positions just waiting for qualified candidates to fill them. You may be one of those folks.

Get in touch with your loved ones and post on social media to inform them that you are now available for job prospects. These persons who are familiar with you well might have the ideal opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask folks in the know because you never know who might be seeking for someone like you to learn the ropes at their place of business.

SEND SPOILER LETTERS Perhaps no one you know works in the industry you want to enter. It’s time to be brave now. If you’re a law graduate looking for employment at a law firm you can always count on but can’t locate any openings that suit you, conduct some research to identify the hiring manager. Send a letter that resembles a cover letter using the information provided. Use this as a chance to explain to the company what, specifically, about it makes you want to work there, as well as what abilities you can bring to the table. Be assured without being haughty.

VOLUNTEER Doing so results in the classic “show, don’t tell” opportunity. Yes, it may seem like you’re working for nothing, but this is just a trial period for both of you. Find out if there are any volunteer opportunities that you can promote as a way to support the business. You could request a referral letter in exchange for your time if, after some time, there are no opportunities. This is especially beneficial for respectable businesses whose reputation can help you in your search for job.

DON’T QUIT Finding a job can be difficult and discouraging at times. Even when things are difficult, keep going because you never know when your next chance will come.

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