So you’ve graduated from college. Now what do you do? You may be tempted to take a year off and backpack around Europe, but if you want to get your foot into the corporate world, we suggest you start looking for jobs right away. It’s a competitive field and finding a job might take some time, so the sooner you start, the better. Here are some job hunting tips for you fresh graduates out there.
Polish Up Your Resume
Start by polishing up your resume. As a recent college graduate, you will have to play up your skills and expertise, as your work history is going to be lacking. That’s okay. You will likely be applying for an entry-level job anyway (at least you should be), so there’s some expectation on the part of the employer that you will have little to no experience. Instead, highlight skills that apply to the job in question. Consider writing an email or cover letter expressing your enthusiasm to become part of a team. As a new hire, your job is to make everyone else’s job easier. If the hiring manager doesn’t think this is the case, you won’t get hired.
Mind Your Social Media Presence
Fair or not, the chances are good that potential employers are going to look you up on social media. Do you have anything that you would be embarrassed to have them discover? If so, you may want to delete it in advance, or hide it from public view. Your social media profiles are a reflection of you and your character – again, fairly or not – so it’s a good idea to tailor them in such a way to present a professional, responsible, and dependable image. Photos of your drinking days in college or potentially offensive jokes made on Twitter or Facebook will do you no favors.
Network, Network, Network
Statistics show that the majority of people find a job through their network, and not via unique job listings (which may not exist, even if the job does). The reasons for this are many, but primarily come down to risk aversion. Bringing on a new employee represents a large investment in time, energy, and capital for a company. Anything that a company can do to ensure a positive return on its investment will be considered, and filtering out applicants that are unknown or unsuited for the position is one of the first steps taken. If you have someone who can vouch for your skills, work ethic, and character, this can provide you with a leg up over the competition. Leverage your network as much as possible if you are a recent college grad; ask for recommendations and connections from your college professors, former bosses, and even your parents and their friends.
Don’t Delay Your Search
It can take several months or more to find a job as a recent college graduate. If you are worried about what you’re going to do in-between graduating and starting your new job, start applying as early as possible. If you start early enough, you may even secure a job before you graduate, which can be a tremendous load off. If you’re not able to secure a job prior to graduating (and have decided not to take that backpacking trip after all), don’t delay your search once graduation day passes. Start early and keep at it until you land a position, so that you don’t have to explain a several-year gap between school and the job you’re trying to take up.
Use the Right Tools
Job hunting can be overwhelming, discouraging, even tiring. The good news is that finding job listings is easier than ever, thanks to the Internet. Sites like Linkedin, Monster, Indeed, and even Craigslist have thousands of legitimate job postings listed daily. Use these tools to find jobs that match your education, experience, and skills. This way, you don’t waste your time looking for a needle in a haystack. Seek out and apply only to those jobs that you have a good chance of being hired for, so that you can focus your efforts where they matter.
Make Extra Money While You’re Looking
Finally, here’s a job hunting tip you may not have thought about: continue to work while you look for your first post-graduate job! You may be looking for a job, but that doesn’t mean your expenses will be put on hold. Earning a little extra money on the side can not only help you pay the bills, it will also allow you to become more independent as you detach yourself from your parents. If you want a job that allows you to set your own schedule, consider companies like Amway or Uber. With these jobs, your earning potential is limited only by your efforts. Otherwise, you can stick with old standbys – bartending, waiting tables, working retail, and other common college jobs.