When it’s time to look for your first ‘proper’ job after University, it can be tricky to know where to start. Do you submit your CV to an agency in your field? Do you scour the job sites online? While these approaches are a good basis for any job search, many experts would agree that approaching a company in person directly can be a good way of making a good impression – and that can be half the battle when it comes to securing that elusive first job.
Here are a few tips to approaching a company you’re interested in working for:
Know your industry
According to graduate job site 10 Minutes With, an expert online service that connects graduates and employers across the UK, knowing your industry is one of the key factors in starting your job search. You need to know who the big players are in your field, where the competition comes from, any upcoming companies and so on. This gives you a broad understanding of the industry and you can bring this knowledge forward with you when selecting a company to approach. So, when a company asks you ‘why have you approached us?’ you can say, ‘I know that you’re one of the most influential companies in this industry at the moment.’
Get the right contact
In some cases, you may not know who the right people in the company are to contact. Speaking to a receptionist beforehand might help you to figure out who’s who. An HR manager might be your first thought, but you may be better versed in speaking to a manager in the department you want to work in. So, you could call up and ask, ‘Can I speak to the Head of Marketing please?’ If they are too busy, you can say, ‘Could I get their email address?’
Say the right thing
Once you have finally got through to someone at the company, now’s your chance to impress. Asking for work experience is a good way to make a small, first step. Work experience placements can often lead to something more at the company, if you make the right impression of course.
You should also follow these telephone rules. For instance, it is wise to be thankful to the person for taking your call. So say, ‘thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.’
Don’t be disheartened
You may speak with several companies and get nowhere. Some of these employers may just not have a placement available for you and that’s OK. If this is the case, don’t be disheartened. You need to learn to move on. Don’t cut bridges though – ask them to bear you in mind if anything does come up. Perhaps you could ask them, ‘when is the best time to contact you again?’ You have now got a contact in this company which may fair you well in the future, even if you don’t end up working for that company.