By Georgie Aley, CEO AIFST

So you’ve finished university equipped with your degree, but what’s next? Applying for your first job can be a scary process, but with these five tips you can stand out in a crowd of interviewees and land your first job.

Internships & Work Experience

Internships and work experience are an excellent way to get your foot in the door of an organisation, while learning some invaluable skills to get a head start on your career. They can also be beneficial in proving your worth to the company through your hard work, which can lead to fulltime employment.

Applying the knowledge you learnt throughout your studies out in the field is a great way to start advancing your career, while receiving invaluable work experience.

AIFST will be exploring further ways in which we can assist and support our members with greater access to such opportunities, as it is particularly crucial for those entering the workforce, or looking to move into another industry path.

Know your stuff!

If there is a particular organisation you can imagine yourself working at, it is always a good idea to acquaint yourself with that organisation before applying for a job with them or having an interview.

Having some common knowledge about the organisation, such as what brands / products / services they produce, is a great way to show the interviewer your knowledge and enthusiasm.

Additional Certification

There are a number of certifications you can obtain to continue your professional development in the food industry, such as HACCP and the Food Handlers Certificate Course. Many employers may pay for you to undertake these courses, although if you are applying for jobs where these certifications will be required, it is a bonus if you already have it. 

Additionally, AIFST offers a number of workshops and courses in the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program that will equip you with vital industry skills and knowledge, not only at the beginning of your career, but also throughout it. AIFST also works in collaboration with IFT to deliver the global Certified Food Scientist program, which was launched two years ago and is building its recognition within the food industry.

Join a member organisation

Listing that you are a member of an industry organisation on your resume is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. Making the effort to join an organisation shows you are committed and passionate about your career and the specific industry. Keeping abreast of industry trends and latest news is crucial within any industry you work.

Students also have a discounted membership fee to AIFST, so it’s always great to apply while you’re in university to start benefiting and advancing your career even before graduating.

Get to know your peers and network!

Get out there and meet people. Whether it is at socialising events, attending workshops and courses or at Conventions, networking with others in the food industry can open many doors for your career. Ultimately, having the right conversation with the right person can connect you with your ideal job or candidate.

By attending events such as AIFST branch and community of interest social events, the annual AIFST Convention, and CPD workshops, you can meet a diverse range of food industry professionals. Events such as these are a great chance to get out there and meet these professionals who are more likely to then remember your face on an interview panel.