Graduation signals a turning of the page – going from late night study sessions and weekend frat parties to business meetings and expense reports.
For most college students, the first post-graduation job is the introduction to the professional world. Before enjoying the perks of business lunches, cushy paychecks and company outings, you must first land the job!
Here are some tips for making the job search easier and more fruitful.
Use Your Last Semester Wisely
- If you have met all your graduation requirements, consider using the last semester of college to learn even more skills that will make you an indispensable employee.
- Microeconomics – learn the role of value, cost, and price.
- Statistics – learn how to interpret findings and analyze data.
- Computer programming – everyone needs to have a basic understanding that data can get manipulated. As a bonus, computer programming is the fastest path to employment. If all else fails, a college graduate could work as a freelancer.
- Communications – no matter what industry you hope to enter, you’ll have to communicate with someone at some point!
- Financial planning – get a basic understanding of accounting and how to project revenues and costs.
Do a Technology Check
- What does your current outgoing message sound like on your voicemail? If you would be embarrassed to have a prospective employer listen to it, change the message right now. Make it sound as professional as possible.
- Check your social media accounts. Employers will be looking. What will they find? Remove any unsavory images and comments. Change your privacy settings. Turn off the wall comments and disable photo tagging on your facebook account.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
- Buy your interview clothes (ie: suite) as soon as possible. This will help you feel mentally prepared. Plus, you won’t have to scramble around at the last minute. What if an employer calls on Monday and schedules a Wednesday interview? Will you have something to wear?
- Focus on your own success. People all around you will be getting jobs. Your friends – who you secretly thought would never amount to much – will even score awesome deals with great companies. Don’t be jealous. Your time will come.
- It is ok if you don’t find the perfect job right out of the gate. It is perfectly fine if you are still searching two or three or even six months after graduation. Use that time to build your resume and help you land the perfect job when it materializes. Volunteer. Work at part-time jobs. Build experience.
Engage in Non-Stop Networking
- Reconnect with everyone you have ever known – your high school driver’s education teacher, your old scout troop leader, Grandma’s bingo friends. Tell them you are hunting for a post-college job. See if anyone has any leads.
- Check out the career center at your college. The staff provides super helpful, free services. They can take a look at your resume and give you improvement tips. They can help you prepare for an interview. And they might know about some job leads in your industry.
- Find a mentor. Ask your professors for suggestions. See who you can connect with on social media. Look for someone who is older than you (even if it is only by a few years) who has valuable experience in the industry you are pursuing.
- Join local professional groups. Ask at the chamber of commerce for suggestions.
- Embrace LinkedIn. Use the social network to build contacts. Join industry-related groups. You can even apply for jobs on LinkedIn.
Be Knowledgeable of the Application and Interview Process
- First of all, know what job you want. Don’t apply to just any old job. Make sure you are using your resources (time and energy) wisely. Only send your resume if you are seriously interested.
- Focus in on a specific area of employment. Narrow your search to one or two areas. Determine your geographic interests. Make a list of companies you really want to work for and make sure you get in contact with them.
- Be realistic about your expectations. You might not want to look for your “perfect” job. Instead, look for your “first” job. Find a position where you can learn a lot. Choose a job that will keep you busy and surrounded by people who can teach you valuable lessons.
- Spend a great deal of time working on your resume. As a college student, you might not have earned a lot of on-the-job experience. So, play up the qualities you do have. Don’t just list your courses, degree(s), and part-time jobs. Elaborate. Really focus on what you can offer the company. Remember, your resume is the best (and possibly only) way to market yourself. Make it shine.
- Don’t include an objective statement in your resume or cover letter. If you are applying for the job, your objective is clear – to work for the company.
- Don’t assume the employer will find your resume among the thousands of other applicants. Follow up. Make sure they received your resume. It is probable they will take the time to pull your resume out and take a look if you took the time to contact them. Employers appreciate initiative.
- Career fairs can be very valuable tools. But if you just show up and expect recruits to remember you after the introduction, you are missing out big time. Instead, contact the recruiters before the job fair. Connect via a phone call or social media message. That way, they’ll be expecting you – looking forward to meeting you in person. This will be a much more memorable encounter.
- Practice your interview techniques. Gather a few friends, meet once a week, and practice interviewing each other. It may seem awkward, but you will all benefit immensely.
Scoring an awesome job at an amazing company with very little effort is pretty rare. Don’t expect success to land in your lap. Use your last few college months wisely and you are bound to find a job that suites your interests.
Job finding tips are presented by Steve Aedy, who is a in-house content writer and researcher for freshessays.com. He is a college paper writing expert and likes to cover topic of education and college survival.