Recent Grads: How to Get Your Dream Entry-Level Job
Congrats! 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+ 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. Don’t go putting on that straight jacket just yet. You had enough mental fortitude to sit through that 19th-Century Horticulture class that you needed to graduate, so finding a job should be easy. Navigate the job market and land your dream entry-level job with that major brand you feel is your “spirit animal”.
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 and 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
My best suggestion coming from someone who reads over 250+ résumés a day: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Everyone wants a 3-page résumé to show off, but those are hard to read and even easier to pass on.
Start with a one-page resume. 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 extremely obvious to the person reading it, “Hey, I just graduated. I have to pay student loans in 6 months, 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 only gives most résumés an initial 10-30 second glance. So there’s no need to make it complicated. Your degree, job objective, internship/previous work experience, and 2-3 unique points are literally all you need to start networking! Make sure to talk about what makes you unique. Saying you are a "quick learner" is something that anybody could put on their resume, try to avoid general statements.
Be one with the Internet
As a millennial/technology guru, you understand that all that matters in life in 2017 is social media. Your LinkedIn profile should read exactly like your resume we discussed 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 be excommunicated from the industry. The best way to make recruiters aware of your profile is 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 as a recent graduate looking for an entry-level job. Make sure to include your degree concentration, departments you might be interested in, and a “Please keep me in mind for future entry-level roles as they come up.”
For bonus points: take a look at the company's current job postings and also the postings on the recruiter's profile. Recruiters usually have a million things going through their heads, so 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!
Be open to roles in other departments you may not have an interest in
Make sure the skills are somewhat transferable to your career path and you identify with the company's general brand/mission/work environment. Most large companies will move you into a role within your preferred department once an additional headcount is approved as long as you’re performing well in your current department within a year or so!
Keep in touch!
Do yourself a favor by keeping in touch with the internal recruiter that brought you on board. Follow up every month or so to learn about new roles in other departments. Don’t forget about 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!
Don’t take just any entry-level role
As all the stats above indicate, if a company is offering you a position that doesn’t fit your “vibe”, don’t be afraid to shop around while respectfully letting the recruiter know that you would like to keep in touch, but aren’t interested at this time. You never know when either of you might be able to utilize each other’s expertise in the future. Always remember to respect others while building your network! Never burn bridges.