Recent Grads: How to Get Your Dream Entry-Level Job

Recent Grads: How to Get Your Dream Entry-Level Job


You just finished 4+ years of box wine and dollar McDoubles to come out alive with your bachelor’s degree.

Sadly, the second you tossed that cap in the air, you also remembered the $100k (or more) of student debt you've acquired.

So, you are probably saying: "I need a job, NOW!" 

Don’t worry. You’re not alone!

An NUS survey found that for 26% of students, graduate employment was a major trigger of mental distress.

But don’t go putting on that straight jacket just yet.

If you had enough mental fortitude to sit through that 19th-century horticulture class that you needed to graduate, finding a job should be easy.

In other words, it is possible to navigate the job market and land your dream entry-level job with that major brand you feel is your “spirit animal.”

Here's some good news:

Americans age 25 to 34 with a four-year college degree have an insanely-low unemployment rate of just 2.1 percent!

So, feel confident in your job search.

Follow these steps to utilize technology and let corporate America know you’re ready to be their new CTO by next year's annual performance review.

Get that résumé ready to go viral

Here's my best suggestion (from someone who reads over 250+ résumés a day):

Keep it simple! 

Everyone wants a three-page résumé to show off, but those are hard to read and easy to pass on.

Start with a one-page résumé.

Highlight your recent degree and include your career objectives at the very top of the page under your name.

Your job is to make it obvious to the person reading it, “Hey, I just graduated. I have to pay student loans; please hire me so I don’t have to move back home.” 

(Check out Professional Resume Style - Headers, Fonts, & Themes.)

A recruiter or hiring manager gives most résumés an initial 10-30 second glance. Some sources say it's more like six seconds, on average.

So there’s no need to make it complicated.

 To start networking here's all you need on that résumé: 

  1. Your degree 
  2. Your job objective 
  3. Your internship/previous work experience 
  4. Two-three unique points

Make sure to talk about what makes you unique.

Saying you are a "quick learner" is something that anybody could put on their résumé, so try to avoid general statements.

Be one with the Internet

As a millennial/technology guru, you understand that all that matters in life these days is social media.

Your LinkedIn profile should read exactly like your résumé.

We already discussed that point above.

Just like you grow your network on any other social media platform, you must grow your network of recruiters.

Every recruiter for every major brand you identify with is on LinkedIn. 

(Otherwise, they would likely be excommunicated from the industry.)

What's the best way to make recruiters aware of your profile?

It's as simple as adding them as a connection.

If and when they accept your request (which from my experience the vast majority will), send a quick message thanking them for connecting.

Let them know your objective is finding an entry-level job as a recent graduate.

Include your degree concentration and departments you might be interested in.

Don't come across as desperate, but end with a simple, “Please keep me in mind for future entry-level roles as they come up.”

For bonus points:

  1. Take a look at the company's current job postings
  2. Also, check out the postings on the recruiter's profile

Recruiters usually have a million things going through their heads.

Make it easy for them.

If you have the ability to link the job you are interested in along with your résumé in the intro message, you will really help yourself out!

Three quick tips

1. Be open to roles in other departments.

Yes, even if they may not be your first vocational choice.

  • Make sure the skills are somewhat transferable to your career path.
  • It's best if you identify with the company's general brand, mission, overall vision, and work environment.

Most large companies will move you into a role within your preferred department within a year or so as long as you’re performing well in your current department!

2. Keep in touch!

Do yourself a favor by keeping in touch with the internal recruiter who brought you on board.

  • Follow up every month or so to learn about new roles in other departments.
  • Don’t forget all those other recruiters you spoke with during your search.

You never know what might happen to your current role or what companies those recruiters might end up working at!

3. Don’t take just any entry-level role.

All the stats above indicate that if a company is offering you a position that doesn’t fit your “vibe,” you shouldn't be afraid to shop around.

Make sure that you respectfully let the recruiter know that you would like to keep in touch, but aren’t interested at this time.

Always remember to respect others while building your network!

You never know when either of you might be able to utilize each other’s expertise in the future.

So, make sure that you never burn bridges.

All the best in landing your dream entry-level position!

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