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How to achieve career success as a student in 2021

Is graduation just around the corner or did you recently graduate? Then you probably have a question or two about becoming a young professional. The fact that there has been a tremendous change in things like physical career events and job interviews might make this new adventure even more confusing. That’s why some professional advice could be quite useful. 

We have asked career coaches Katelijne van Tienhoven, Monte Königs and Willemijn Buijn to help you out and answer the most frequently asked questions by students. 

Everything you need to know about taking the first steps toward having a successful career in 2021 can be read right here:

“How do I find out what I want?”

This may be the question career coaches are most often asked: How do I find out what I want?

Monte: “You need to be careful when saying things like: “I don’t know what I want”. Is that even true? Why not look at it from the opposite perspective and focus on what you do know. Think about what makes you happy, what your strong suits are and at what moments you were at your best.”

Willemijn: ”Having conversations with people you know and that can speak from experience will give you certain insights into what having a particular job and schedule is like. Also asking them what they believe your talents and strengths are can be of great help. This gives you a better understanding of your abilities and will allow you to discover what it is that you want.”

Monte: “At some point you have to stop thinking and start experimenting. That is what internships and traineeships are for. The experience you gain will lead you to a better understanding of what parts of the job you enjoyed and will want to look for in future jobs.“

“How do I prepare for the job market whilst being a student”

Nowadays things like job interviews and inhouse days mostly take place online, making things different then what we are used to. Our career coaches have a few tips that will help you adjust your approach to finding a job. 

Willemijn: “To ensure that you won’t find yourself in a gap in your career where you aren’t gaining any experience, you should consider being more flexible when deciding what job you want by looking at what the job market is currently asking for.”

Monte: “It is a lot easier to have a quick conversational cup of coffee with a recruiter now that everything’s online. Use this to your advantage to easily be able to ask questions about a job you are interested in.”

“What is an important tip when applying for a job?”

Katelijne: “A cover letter is not an extended version of your resume! It exists to give the recruiter an idea of who you are and what motivates you to want the job. It gives you authenticity. End the letter with an explanation of what you bring to the table in terms of the company. Don’t make the letter any more than one page. Longer than that is simply too long.”

Monte: “Job applications are all about finding a job that matches you and vice-versa. They not only want you to be capable of doing the work, you must also fit in well with the team and the company values.  So pay attention to this.”

Willemijn: “Know your stuff. Find out as much as you can about the company and job you are applying for to ensure that when asked questions that require a deeper understanding of the industry, competitors and products, you will be able to answer adequately.”

“I can’t find a job, what now?”

You have tried everything but are unable to find a job. In this economy, you are certainly not alone. What now?

Katelijne: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are doing the best you can. It is important to stay motivated and determined to find a job, because applications take time and with a large amount of competition for each spot, it’s almost never personal if you don’t make the cut.”

Willemijn: “Learn from the rejections you receive. Ask recruiters where you can improve and why you weren’t chosen for the job. Also remember: you don’t have to do all of this alone. Ask people you know for advice and get them to proofread your resume and cover letter. Try practising a job interview with them to be even more prepared for tough questions.”

Finding your first job is a challenge in itself made even more difficult with the help of 2020. Yet, it is far from impossible. With a boatload of motivation and flexibility and the help of career coaches Katelijne, Monte and Willemijn, you can work toward a successful 2021.