Even with the lowest unemployment rate in history, getting a job today is not an easy task, especially for recent college graduates. Every college grad wants to land that first job. However, there is no guarantee that your degree will automatically get you that dream job you are looking for.
Finding a job after college can be rough for those with little to no experience. This means that you should be prepared. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting straight A’s. It is about understanding how the job hunting experience works. You may have the best grades and are involved in clubs and activities, but if you have no understanding of how job hunting works, and how the ability to connect with the right kind of people is important, then you’ve got work to do.
The good news is that by taking the right steps and staying focused on your goal, landing a job is possible!
What do you want to do?
That’s the first question you should ask yourself. Yes, you went to college, yes, you worked hard towards that degree, and yes, you are ready for the challenges ahead; but where do you see yourself in 5- 7 years? Will it be at an IT startup in Silicon Valley, a regional bank, or you are going to storm Wall Street?
To land that job as a fresh college grad, you should have a vision of what you are looking for in terms of the job and employer. Gather as much information about prospective companies and positions and weigh out all the pros and cons.
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7 Tips to Land That First Job Right After College:
Update your resume
Always keep your resume up to date. If you have no previous job experience, list your major and minor (if you have one) with an emphasis on the particular skill sets you learned and developed while in school. Your education is your strongest asset. Make sure to highlight all of your recent achievements on your resume as well. Check out resumegenius.com for some great looking templates and resume examples.
If you don’t have any job experience, talk about your internships and volunteer work. Did you study abroad or volunteer at an after school program with kids? Bulk up your resume with the experience you do have.
Find out what the employer is looking for and customize and edit your resume to fit the position in the company you are applying for. A concise resume is always preferred than an extravagant one – remember, the key here is to prove why you should get the job, not tell an entire story about yourself.
Visit your School Career Center
Connect with the career center of your college and make sure to have access to all the job openings you are interested in. Career centers are made to help you get a job after College. Stop by your school’s career center to find out what services they provide. This can be anywhere from helping you write out your resume or cover letter, showing you a job portal, or doing mock interviews with you.
Your school’s career center is also a wonderful place to start networking with companies and organizations. Schools typically host multiple job fairs a year, especially in the spring when graduation is just around the corner. Attend job fairs and make your presence known. It is not only a great way to see what is out there, but to practice your communication skills.
Create an online presence and start building your brand
You’d probably ask, how can a personal website help me find a job? Nowadays, the internet is the go-to medium that employers and recruiters use to find the right candidate. This is especially beneficial if you’re looking for a job that requires an online portfolio such as web designers, animators, and other related positions.
Your online portfolio and personal website should be linked to your social media accounts specifically Linkedin.
Another great idea is to write a blog on online publishing platforms such as medium.com. You should write on the topics that are of general interest to you or about a skill related to your chosen field of studies.
Get an internship
An internship is not only valuable for gaining experience it’s also important for making connections that could help you land a job in the future.
According to Melissa Benca, director at career services at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, “Internships have become key in today’s economy”.
If you can make a good impression, that internship may turn into an offer for a full-time position. Most employers look for interns who have a strong work ethic along with enthusiasm. Express interest in working full-time with the company. Let your supervisor know that you are interested in working full-time after graduation.
Prepare your ‘Elevator Pitch
The ‘elevator pitch’ or ‘elevator speech’ is a short summary of yourself where you talk about your experience, backgrounds, and your strengths. It’s basically a well thought out “blurb” about yourself meant to sell yourself to the company.
What if you appeared in an elevator with Elon Musk? You pushed the 50th floor and Elon the 45th. You have just around half a minute to convince him that you are the right person he needs.
According to BestColleges.com, networking is very important in your job search and to your career. Linkedin is an extremely useful tool for job-seekers and students. Linkedin and social networking sites, in general, are great platforms to display your skills and expand your network. You will have the opportunity of connecting with your future employers and increase your chances of being noticed. Just make sure your social media accounts are “clean” if you want to share them with potential employers. You don’t want the hiring manager to see you doing anything you wouldn’t want to see a potential employee of yours is doing.
When job searching is so tough that sometimes it may make you want to cry and give up. Understand that looking for a job is a process. There is a job out there for you. Be optimistic and grab new opportunities when you come across them.
If you don’t initially land that interview or job, do not despair. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything will be alright – it can be hard to convince yourself of that when you’re feeling down about not getting a job, but it’s the best outlook you can have.
Stay focused on your goals. Other opportunities will come your way. You will eventually land a job. There is that special job out there waiting for you. Good Luck!