It can be daunting trying to land your first career-track job, especially if you didn’t major in one of the sought-after STEM (science, tech, engineering and science) fields.
The good news is that the job market is heating up enough that you’re not resigned to taking your English or philosophy degree over to the local coffee shop and settling for being a barista. A new survey of job availability finds that a wide variety of companies are seriously on the hunt for entry-level workers.
According to a Monster.com analysis of the companies with the most entry-level job ads over the past month, the top outfit hiring newbies is an insurer, Bankers Life. The next one down the list is decidedly different: cosmetics and beauty company Avon.
In total, four insurance or finance companies make the Top 10 list, along with pest-control service Terminix and shipping giant UPS. None of those appeal? How about lightbulb manufacturer Maintenance Engineering; WIS International, a company that provides inventory analysis; or Power Home Remodeling Group, a renovation business that was named the top place to work for millennials last year by Fortune magazine.
Tips for first-timers
Entry-level jobs are out there, according to Vicki Salemi, careers expert at Monster.com and former corporate recruiter, but it’s still crucial for first-time job-seekers to put in the legwork. Namely, this means crafting resumes and cover letters that are specific enough to show a hiring manager not just why any company should hire you, but why that particular one should.
"The more specific you get in your resume, the better your results," she says. "String together a story in your cover letter highlighting your experiences.” She suggests creating a few different resumes for different categories of work or types of companies you’re applying to, and then tweaking them for even greater alignment with the company's needs.
Oh, and that one-size-fits-all objective at the top of your resume? Get rid of it, Salemi advises. It’s a waste of space and almost inevitably too broad to be useful.
As the variety of companies looking for entry-level workers illustrates, first-timers can find work in unexpected places. Candidates should “leave no stone unturned,” Salemi counsels. That means hitting up relatives, your school’s career office, supervisors from previous work-study jobs or internships, even your roommates' parents are fair game.
And don’t think of what you're doing as "networking," she adds. Too many young adults get tongue-tied when they approach “networking” as a distinct form of communication. Really, it’s just talking.
"Keep in mind that everything is a conversation,” Salemi says. First-time job seekers "don’t need to put a label on things. They just need to do the actual behavior that’s going to get results.”