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Career entry: this is how you start your career

After training or studying, the next step is for which you have been preparing for years: the Career entry. The job market is currently showing itself to young professionals in a schizophrenic role: It is easier and more difficult for them today. On the one hand, they currently have more to offer Entry opportunities and options than ever before; on the other hand, the demands and the competition have grown enormously. It is correspondingly difficult to stand out from the crowd when starting your career, to position yourself and to get one of the jobs. In addition, young professionals today are often expected to have relevant experience (through internships, jobs and theses). At the same time, they are just beginners in their field and first have to orientate themselves in operational practice and the industry environment. An enormous balancing act, but one that has to be mastered. To the Career start and therefore we have a career start all the important tips and strategies in summary, which you have to consider ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Young professionals definition: who is part of it?

Let's start with a short one at the beginning Entry-level definition: What are career starters anyway?

As a young professional today are usually two groups of workers designated:

  1. Graduates

    Anyone who has completed their training at a school, vocational college or university and only starts their professional life with the first employment contract is, by definition, a career starter. When you start your career after your studies, you currently belong to the largest group of young professionals.

  2. Switchers

    The second group have significantly less on their radar. But it also falls under this definition: career changers who have successfully completed retraining and further education and are now starting from scratch in a completely new profession. They are also young professionals. However, overall they have more experience in professional life than the first group - just not in the job in which they start their second or even third career.

As a career starter in particular, you often have to assert yourself against major competition, some of which have more experience. But you shouldn't let that scare you off, but always focus on your own qualifications.

To gain a foothold in the (new) profession, there are again numerous Options:

  • Direct entry

    This entry corresponds to the classic way: You look for a suitable position, apply, get the job and hopefully survive the probationary period.

  • Trainee position

    Trainees also start directly, but according to a precisely drawn up plan and with the aim of being able to take on a management position later. For this purpose, they are trained in the company with professional help and go through all important departments in order to obtain the most comprehensive all-round view possible. In return, however, they usually earn less than direct entrants. You can find a comprehensive guide for trainees HERE.

  • Fixed-term employees

    This variant is currently particularly popular with employers: The young professionals initially only receive a fixed-term employment contract - usually for one or two years. In this way, the trial period is extended and the workforce is made more flexible. In other words: Whether you will get the job at the end of the fixed-term contract is anything but certain. After all: Nobody can take away the experience gained in this way.

  • Work and fee contracts

    Both contractual relationships are forms of freelance work: While a work contract is concluded for a clearly defined project and ends with its implementation, fee contracts provide the basis for regular assignments without an employment relationship being established. These employment relationships not only serve to bridge unemployment, but are sometimes also an entry into a later permanent position or self-employment.

  • temporary work

    Because temporary work offers the opportunity to get a taste of different areas, prospective all-rounders can practice their own skills here. Those who do not yet know which path to take can get a taste of different areas and gain valuable orientation aids. In contrast to various internships, the employer - the temporary employment agency - remains the same.

  • Internships

    In well-justified exceptional cases, an internship after graduation is definitely helpful: For example, if basic skills were not acquired during the course and this makes it difficult to start a career. Or when a graduate has absolutely no idea what he actually wants to become and is looking for orientation. For people who finish their studies because they notice that they do not want to work in this area, an internship also offers the chance of reorientation.

Of course, no one can make the decision of which path to take for you. Sometimes there is - for want Alternatives or longer Waiting times - not a big choice either. But that should neither frustrate nor unsettle you.

Career entry jobs: Current offers for a career jump

If you are just about to start your career, a short labor market research certainly won't do any harm. Have a look in our job exchange Karrieresprung.de Completely free of charge and without obligation to deal with what is currently on offer ... Who knows, maybe your dream job is already there:

To the job exchange

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Career entry: what do I have to consider?

The start of your career depends psychologically often a dramatized beacon, motto: If I make the wrong decision, my entire career will be botched ... Too much zigzag, too little determination ...

Nonsense! In most résumés today there are breaks, gaps and inconsistencies. The linear chimney career is being phased out - and that's just as well.

Already colloquial becomes career made and not planned in advance.

In addition to talent, performance, determination and know-how, there is often one good portion of luck to a positive career. And luck cannot be planned any more than a six with an additional number.

In addition, careers planned in a linear fashion are blind. Of course, there is nothing to be said against fundamentally considering where to go in the next three to five years want to stand professionally, how to get there and, above all, what you want to achieve there for yourself and the company. Such a Career plan is a good thing, a very good thing in fact. Because it gives you clarity.

The problem The only thing about it is: firstly, it turns out differently, and secondly, than you think.

Constantly new job profiles and subject areas make it easier to switch between different areas and companies, often only for highly skilled workers. In addition, many tasks cannot be classified into traditional occupational and work fields - and are therefore difficult to depict in a résumé.

Actually are Career paths ramified, they have corners, quirks, go wrong and detour. To commit yourself early would be to run through life with blinkers on.

So please make the Entry into a career does not have a cramp. There are still numerous options open to them afterwards.

The only thing that matters is how open, flexible and adaptable You stick with it and what you ultimately make of your opportunities.

Career starter questions: Tips for orientation

Before starting a career, there is always the question of your own priorities. To you the orientation To make it easier, you can ask yourself these questions in advance:

  • I already have one rough idea of my dream job?
  • What topics Tasks and departments interest me?
  • How can I get in these areas Practical experience collect?
  • How can this experience me later move forward?
  • I want it right away after graduation start the job?
  • Is there Alternatives to a direct career entry that will help me advance personally and professionally?

Career entry after studies: Between graduation and work

If you are about to finish your studies (or your apprenticeship), we will inform you three recommendations that you should do in the time between graduation and starting your career.

Evidence of this experience facilitates and accelerates many job searches:

  1. foreign countries

    Whether in the form of one (or more) semesters abroad or a trip around the world after completing your studies: Take the opportunity to live and work abroad for some time. Never again will there be such a free and inexpensive time window as between studying and starting your career - and hardly anything leaves such a positive and lasting impression on employers.

  2. Internships

    Make targeted use of internships during your training to make contacts in various companies in your target industry. Also to their subsidiaries abroad (see point 1). The sooner you know the industry and the better they know you there, the better it is for starting your career. Please try not only to fill free (transitional) time with the internship, but also to take on responsibility and network in a targeted manner.

  3. Projects

    If possible, initiate, organize and take responsibility for your own project. Whether in the social area or in the form of your own blog - the main thing is that you manage something and achieve a goal. There is no better teacher - be it for social skills, organization or frustration tolerance. And it adorns the résumé enormously.

Career entry jobs: Indirect paths into the profession

Students and graduates in particular are still available two indirect waysto start your career elegantly - provided you proceed strategically ...

  1. Writing the thesis in the company

    Write yours Thesis in the company that you as a potential Dream employer have identified. With this option you can not only combine your theoretically acquired knowledge with practice, you also get an insight into the Structure and the processes of the company and can make initial contacts.

    Conversely, the company receives a - hopefully positive - insight into your way of working and your commitment. In order for the chances of getting the first job through such a thesis in the company to increase significantly, students should in advance some points note:

    • Choose one theme, the practical, but also not too specific is tailored to a specific company. Maybe it doesn't work out for this employer after all, then the work must still be interesting for another company.
    • When you have to decide between given topics, choose a topic that really matters to you appeals and interests.
    • Clarify that Chances of a later job before starting the thesis with the company.

    Who is already at the Selection of the company who values ​​a possible career start increases his chances considerably. Of course, this is not a guarantee. Therefore, please also apply later in parallel with other companiesso as not to waste time and keep other options open.

  2. Use alumni networks as job exchanges

    Admittedly, a dedicated job exchange cannot replace alumni programs. But they offer as Platforms for alumni an excellent opportunity to get in touch with ex-fellow students and current employees. They may not only provide experience reports, but also help with the job search and know about current vacancies.

    In order to draw attention to yourself in such a forum, however, you need patience, commitment and a sure instinct. Clumsy Self-promotion and job begging is either deleted directly in many alumni forums or moved to a separate - less frequented - sub-forum.

    Much smarter and more subtle is the way to tell about your own project or a planned article for your blog and asking for interview partners or advice. Many alumni are happy to pass on advice - and asking others for a favor is immediately appealing. In psychology this phenomenon is also called Benjamin Franklin Effect known.

Career entry versus master’s degree: A decision-making aid

After completing your bachelor's degree, is starting your career really the right choice for you? Or would you be in one Master's degree better off? We have compared both options:

aspectCareer entrymaster
work experienceYou can no longer see a lecture hall and you want to Finally apply your knowledge in practice, the direct entry into the profession is of course your first and best choice.A master’s degree includes in many cases also practical elementsbut if work experience is your primary focus, a consecutive master’s degree may not be your first choice.
Application opportunitiesYour industry and your expectations are very important here. Are you ready in one primarily operationally oriented job To begin with and if you want to earn your spurs in practice, direct career entry is your best option. Then your application chances with a good Bacherlor are excellent.On the other hand, aim for a job conceptual and / or strategic orientation a master’s degree can almost be necessary in some industries. This is especially true if you want to secure a job primarily in the academic field or in teaching.
Career opportunitiesHere, too, the conditions in your industry play a decisive role. Will be here especially on work experience and practical skills If you place value on it, your career opportunities are best with a bachelor's degree and a later supplemented, part-time master’s degree. It is quite possible that you can do without the master’s degree in such industries.In academic industries with a focus on specialist knowledge and theoretical knowledge, however, things look different. Here, the master’s degree plays an important role when you start your career and can have a lasting impact on your career opportunities. A part-time master’s degree often does not offer the same opportunities here.
PerspectivesWe have already mentioned it: By starting your career straight away and the associated practical experience, you can open up career and professional options that are not even on your radar today. You also learn on the job Get to know your strengths and weaknesses in a completely new way and after the first few months or the first year you will probably be able to judge much better which paths and perspectives are realistic for you and which you should better stay away from.Put down though Value on planning security and if you want to prepare your career as well as possible today, a consecutive master’s degree is probably the best possible path. Although no (career) plan survives contact with reality, a master’s degree offers you a clear time frame and also clearly formally more perspectives and possibilities. Whether these can then be implemented realistically is another matter.

Tips for young professionals: this is how you start your career

Finally - you're in, got the job, and got the job Employment contract signed. And now?

Now it's time to lay the foundations for a career and that correct impression to convey.

The most important principle: Quality takes precedence over quantity.

Don't rush things, always prove Care, interest and high motivation. Then not only your work results speak for you, but soon your colleagues too.

They also have the following Tips and strategies proven by our readers:

  1. Exercise patience.

    Everyone tries to achieve their goals as quickly as possible: finished their studies and get straight to work - that's what everyone hopes for. But starting a career can sometimes take some time. So don't be unsettled by rejections and unanswered applications. Be patient and keep pursuing your goal.

    When in doubt, you have to have yours Application strategy change and modify something.

  2. Become visible.

    Who does not advertise, dies. What applies to products also applies to careers: bad things Self-marketing not only ensures less income, it also plays a central role for young professionals. In a survey by the Federal Association of German Management Consultants, 28 percent considered false modesty to be one of the top 10 career killers.

    As vain and uncomfortable as the self-portrayal may seem: Anyone who does not sit in the limelight, does not attract attention, falls through the grid. Even the greatest achievement fizzled outwhen nobody notices. You can find out how to do this HERE.

  3. Define selection criteria.

    Of course, pay plays a big role in your job. You should Starting salary however, do not use it as the only criterion for choosing your first employer.

    Think in advance what realistic expectations you can have of your first job - but more importantly, whether it will be yours professional and long-term goal brings closer. It might just be an entry point, a foot in the door - no more, but no less either.

  4. Educate yourself.

    Career entry is a Colon: then it goes on - also with learning.

    Many young professionals think: I have just come from university, I have enough time to learn, now I want to do ...! But that leads to a dead end: in the next two to three years you will have that again Chance to specialize and to become a sought-after expert in a field as quickly as possible. This does not work with the knowledge from the alma mater. You can find tips for professional development HERE

Career entry checklist: please think about it!

Finally, we have a detailed one for you Checklist for starting your career compiled. Newcomers to the profession can use the checklist free of charge download as PDF. It consists of numerous questions that are primarily intended to aid self-reflection and memory support:

Professional orientation

  • Which subjects and tasks am I interested in?
  • Which professions have fascinated me for a long time?
  • Which professions are out of the question for me?
  • Where can I make the most of my strengths?
  • Is a career in the scientific or academic field interesting for me?
  • Which internships appealed to and inspired me during my studies?
  • Which professions feel intuitively right or wrong to me?
  • What opportunities do I expect in the various professions?
  • Which professions fit my future plans?
  • Where do I see myself in four or five years?
  • Possible employers

  • Which companies do I already know?
  • Are there any companies that I have found attractive for a long time?
  • Which criteria should my employer of choice meet?
  • What are clear exclusion criteria for companies for me?
  • Which criteria are most important to me when choosing an employer?
  • What compromises can and do I want to make with a company?
  • Application strategy

  • Do I also want to use social media for my application?
  • If so, which networks are suitable?
  • Is my own blog, my own podcast or an actively used YouTube channel an option for me?
  • Which networks are used by potential employers?
  • Do I know my strengths and can I summarize them succinctly in a few sentences?
  • What reputation and what image do I want to build?
  • Which formulations, topics and which design do I use for this?
  • Is this image compatible with my target industry?
  • What role do classic applications play for me?
  • How much time can and do I want to spend on this?
  • Network and contacts

  • Do I already know employees of my dream company?
  • Which forums, groups and networks are best for my job search?
  • Can I use my lecturers as contacts?
  • Can I write my thesis with one of my dream employers?
  • Which trade fairs and congresses are of interest to me from a network perspective?
  • With which topics can I build relationships and make contacts?
  • What criteria do I use to classify my contacts?
  • How and where do I document my growing network?
  • How and how often do I maintain my existing contacts?
  • Can my friends and family give me important contacts?
  • Specific application

  • What is the best channel for me to contact?
  • Do I know the company well enough?
  • Are there specifically advertised - and suitable - positions?
  • Is my résumé prepared for both postal and electronic mailing?
  • Are my strengths and competencies clearly shown in the cover letter?
  • Do the layout and design match the content and my online presence?
  • Do I link online and offline applications? Does that make sense in my target industry?
  • Do I address my dream employers openly and directly or cautiously and cautiously?
  • Do I recognize myself in the cover letter and the entire application?
  • Do I understand what questions my application for an interview may raise?

Career entry test: Are you ready for the job?

The following career entry test should help you to find out whether you are already ready to start your career or whether you need a transition period. Because stress and pressure are not good advisors when choosing a career.

Which of the following answers is most likely to apply to you? The link to the resolution can be found at the end of the test:

  1. What type of application offers young professionals the best chance?

    • Self-confident but realistic applications in which individual strengths come into their own.
    • Confident but aggressive applications in which young professionals put themselves in the limelight.
    • Confident but cautious applications that are purely about professional skills.
  2. References are useful for applications, but does that also apply to young professionals?

    • No, as most employers know that young professionals have no references and experience.
    • Yes. Every reference increases the chances of getting the job.
    • Yes - if the references are good and suit the job and the company targeted.
  3. Can graduates prepare for their career entry during their studies?

    • Yes, by contacting companies in good time and looking for suitable internship positions.
    • Only to a limited extent, as the thesis takes up a lot of time and energy.
    • To a certain extent, if, for example, it is possible to implement study assignments with or at companies.
  4. Do young professionals have to put up with temporary jobs at the beginning?

    • That depends entirely on the industry, in some areas there are almost no fixed-term contracts.
    • Not necessarily, but fixed-term contracts are becoming increasingly popular in many industries.
    • Of course, fixed-term contracts represent the classic entry point in all industries.
  5. Are starting salaries of 50,000 euros per year realistic for young professionals?

    • Yes, a good education should go hand in hand with a corresponding salary.
    • No way! No newcomer to the profession earns that much money.
    • That depends on the industry. One or the other could deserve it.
  6. Do different labor regulations apply to young professionals than to colleagues with professional experience?

    • Officially not, but in some companies you could get that impression.
    • No, labor law regulations are independent of professional experience.
    • Yes, young professionals are allowed to work more overtime than older colleagues, for example.
  7. Temporary work doesn't have the best reputation. Can this form of work still offer opportunities for young professionals?

    • No, temporary work is always exploitation and never leads to permanent employment.
    • Yes. If it is a specialized temporary employment agency with good contacts, this can be a good stepping stone for young professionals.
    • With a lot of luck, maybe. In exceptional cases, temporary work can become a permanent job.
  8. What point do young professionals tend to forget during preparation?

    • Own business cards. Almost no newcomer thinks about this important communication tool.
    • Your own website. Many young professionals are not even present online.
    • The health insurance. Since many are insured through their families during their studies, this point is often overlooked.
  9. Personal branding can also be an issue for young professionals. But is it really that important?

    • Sure, without a well-maintained online reputation, you'll be stupid in a few years.
    • Not really, in some industries an active online presence can even be a problem.
    • Personal branding naturally plays a role and will become increasingly important in the future.
  10. From your studies straight into your professional life, this is the perfect résumé. But is that really worth striving for?

    • No. Anyone who embarks on a career immediately after graduation misses out on many opportunities for important experiences and will later regret it.
    • Not necessarily, the time between studying and starting your career can be used for valuable experience that can also be useful in your job.
    • Yes. Every break is viewed critically by companies and HR professionals and can become a problem with applications.
  11. Do young professionals absolutely need a mentor in the company?

    • No, especially at the beginning of their careers, they have their hands full with their work; a mentor would only be an additional burden.
    • Definitely! Without a mentor and their contacts, starting your career will be very difficult.
    • A mentor can be helpful, but it is not absolutely necessary.

Resolution to the test

Additional dossiers for young professionals

Since we cannot pack all the important tips for starting a career in one (far too long) article, we have another one here List of further and in-depth articles. With the concentrated knowledge, hardly anything can go wrong:

[Photo credit: Marta Design, jamesteohart by Shutterstock.com]
★★★★★ Rating: 4.98 / 5 - 6929 reviews.
May 19, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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