IT Graduates: Securing Your First JobEvery graduation season comes with an influx of tech talent into the market, which for graduates, means that there is strong competition for those first jobs. Landing a job is a different challenge to university, so how can you set yourself up to secure that perfect first job at the company you want?Personal BrandingA strong personal brand makes a good first impression and lets candidates stand out from the crowd. A well-structured CV is a good starting point, but an online presence is important too.Most employees will use social media to see your work and find your contact information. Public profiles, like Facebook, can have unfavorable content, such as images that might put off a potential employer. Remove anything like this from public view on your social networks, as well as making sure your profiles are up to date with your contact details and recent experience.LinkedIn is designed to be a professional platform and will let you show off any recent experience as well as your skills and interest. It is common for employers to search for applicants on LinkedIn, but you can also use it when job searching to find contact information for recruiters or hiring managers.For IT jobs in New Zealand, GitHub and Stack Overflow are networks specific to the IT sector. GitHub is the largest code-sharing platform and a great place to showcase your work, so you can build credibility within the IT community. Stack Overflow is an educational question and answer forum and is where programmers go to find or provide solutions to problems. It also has a built-in credibility system. If you use either of these, include them on your applications.NetworkingUsing professional networks is another great way to get your career started after graduation. Your network will have already begun to form during your studies, as your University Lecturers can play a part in it. They will have useful information on conferences, vacancies, and internships that you should be looking into to get your career started.Fairs for University Graduates are a good place to get started with building your network, as they are designed for people in your position and will be attended by recruiters who are interested in new talent in your area. By approaching and engaging with IT recruiters, you can promote yourself and your skills. If you make the most of these fairs, you can make an impressive first impression on those who attend.Attending these Graduate Fairs can also give you some idea of what attending an industry conference might be like. Conferences are usually annual events, specializing in a particular field and are often attended by professionals from all over the world. Attending conferences like this will give you direct access to interesting and influential people.InterningFor those who will be graduating in the next year, it is very common for graduates to find their first full-time job by completing an internship. A great way to get your foot in the door of a company that you want to work with is to get involved in a Summer Graduate Program. Some other good ways to secure an internship are through your University, who will probably have links with employers to make this happen, or to approach employers directly. Securing an internship can give you the chance to show a potential employer how hard you can work and how enthusiastic you are to stick into whatever they might throw at you. Just be aware of the trap of being the eternal intern. An internship should be a stepping stone.Contracting / FreelancingThere’s an old saying that practice makes perfect, and this can help you get that first job. Freelancing is a popular choice for a lot of programmers, as it gives you a lot of flexibility and plenty of opportunities to practice your skills. Freelancing has become more popular in recent years, so there are now a number of dedicated networks. These networks can help you if you want to explore freelancing further. These include Freelancer, Upwork / Elance, which allow people to post projects and hire technical talent to complete them.Be PersistentEveryone knows what company they would love to work for. Contact them directly and find out as much as you can about vacancies in your area. This shows your interest in the company. If there aren’t any roles available, they might have a junior role open soon, and may keep your CV on hand to review again when they have a suitable position. Combining persistence with some creative thinking might help you to get your resume noticed. For example, many IT recruiters have seen a graduate impress a company by revamping their CV into a different format, such as to match the style of the social media platform they want to work for. Be persistent, and keep on applying whenever you see roles opening up. A new angle can also be effective, as it can attract attention and show a different side to you and your work. Set yourself some personal milestones too, so you have an effective way to provide you with a way to measure your progress, and can also help to keep you focused on your objectives.SummaryGetting started in the job market after you graduate can be a daunting process and overwhelming task. However, if you know where to look, there are a lot of resources out there ready to be used, from IT recruitment in Auckland, to social media platforms. You might have already gotten started on your job journey, but putting the time in to develop your current network and your own strengths can make a lot of difference. By looking at other graduates, you will easily be able to see how much hard work is needed to succeed. If you need more advice on setting up your personal brand, expanding your network, or need help finding job vacancies, then an IT recruiter should be your first call to get started.