You did it! You just graduated or are soon to be graduating from college and for most; this will be the greatest accomplishment of your life. So far, anyway! Let me say now, Congratulations! Unfortunately, it is time to get back to work. Landing a job after college is not an easy task. Believe it or not, only 14% of university graduates have a job secured upon graduation.
Ideally, you already have bundles of internships and years of relevant work experience under your belt. But let’s be honest, college is tough and it’s even harder to get a job in the right industry while being a full-time student. Don’t worry, we understand your situation and it so happens that this is very common!
We have laid out a “How To” guide below, which will show you how to optimize your efforts to find a job after college, regardless of your work experience.
Little to no work experience
Whether you partied every day or struggled to keep your grades up, the fact is, you graduated! That expensive piece of paper hanging on your wall was the goal to better your career path and land a job after college. You may not have made all the ideal career choices during your schooling, but there is nothing you can do about that now. To optimize your chances of receiving callbacks, you must be able to translate all relevant experience from your classwork and any volunteer work you have done. This is a catch 22 because hiring managers only care about what is relevant to the job you are applying for, so please don’t include how many years you had to babysit a sibling; unless of course, you are applying to become a caregiver.
Want to learn how to find your niche without a single day of work experience? Learn more tips on How to Apply for Entry Level Jobs.
Solidify your resume
I know what you’re saying, “of course, you have to have a strong resume to find a job after college!” Unfortunately, “Strong” is a relative term and if you don’t know the quality other candidates are achieving, it is easy to get left behind in your job search. You must know the lingo and business terms of the desired industry you plan to enter. Companies use scanning programs to filter out resumes relevant to what they are looking for in a candidate and if your wording is not strategically chosen, a human will not even look at your resume. If you have already set out on a job search campaign and have not received any response, it is time to swallow your pride and fix what is broken! If you need help or feel overwhelmed, there are tools and services at your disposal to increase your chances!
Be open to all opportunities
As a new college graduate, let me be the first to tell you, the world owes you nothing! You have to go out and get a job after college; it will not be handed to you. All cliches aside, I see all too often new grads who expect to earn a degree and get offered a six-figure salary job right out of the gates. You must be realistic in your job search as it is a very personal process.
It only takes a few rejections to start feeling like you will never get the opportunity you desire even though you are a great candidate. I am sure you are awesome, but the fact of the matter is you need to prove it. This can be extremely rewarding when you reach the pinnacle of your goals, but until then, you must pay your dues! Don’t assume you are above an assistant position or a job that requires no experience (directed at those of you who relate to the “Little to no work experience” section). This is a long-term process and you will not regret starting at the bottom of the right opportunity.
Use all available avenues
There are many resources at your disposal to find a job after college and it is important that you use them all to broaden your outreach to hiring managers. You are at a severe disadvantage if you only use one avenue to apply for jobs. These options include Job Boards, Company Websites, Staffing Agencies, and the Career Center at your University. I am not going to spend time debating on which option is best because like I said, you should be using all of them! Ok, I am done lecturing, but the more you explore your options, the better your chances get of landing that fulfilling job you dream about. To learn exactly where to apply for jobs and optimize your job hunt take a look at Where to Apply for Jobs Online.
Avoid these common mistakes
At this point, you should have a general idea of the etiquette and unwritten rules of the job search process after college, but I would like to emphasize a few key mistakes that are easy to correct. Like I stated above, it is best to be open to all opportunities after graduation. Please do not show up for a scheduled interview already assuming you have the job “in the bag”. Confidence is great but arrogance is easy to pick up on and a hiring manager is trained to sniff out these types of candidates. Treat all employees at the company you are interviewing at with respect.
It is also important to be open to relocation. You do not want to miss out on a great job after college because it is a short plane flight from family and friends. Eventually, you can be pickier about location, but limiting your options because of location can be detrimental to your long-term goals. Change can be scary, but so can unemployment!
Follow-up is also very important as it shows determination towards the potential opportunity. Even a “Thank You” email to the hiring manager/interviewer thanking them for their time can speak volumes towards the character of a candidate. Most important of all, do your homework. Just because you are done with school, does not mean you are done learning. Do not let your ego get in the way of your job search. Don’t assume your resume or cover letter is rock solid. If you are not getting callbacks, there are reasons for this. There is nothing wrong with admitting you do not know everything about an industry or desired skill. After all, you are entry-level. There are a vast amount of resources at your disposal, take advantage.