College Grads: Tips for Landing Your Next Job

business-1031754_1920Graduating college is an amazing experience. After putting in lots of hard work studying and doing homework along with cramming for finals each semester, it feels amazing to finally walk across the stage and receive the degree you’ve been working toward for so many years.

The only bittersweet part about graduating college is if you don’t have a job lined up and have very little or no prospects. When I graduated college a few years back, I felt a sense of accomplishment and was ecstatic to not have to worry about juggling school and work all the time.

On the other hand, I was a little nervous because I had no idea where I was going to be able to find a job to jumpstart my career. I went on a few interviews before graduation, but didn’t receive any callbacks unfortunately and I was out of leads.

If you don’t have a job lined up after college, you’re not alone. According to an AfterCollege Career Insights Survey, at least 82% of college grads don’t have jobs lined up upon graduation.

In order to land your first ‘big girl’ or ‘big boy’ job after graduation, take some of these actions into consideration.

Create or Update Your LinkedIn Profile

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to get one. While updating your resume after graduation and checking it over for spelling errors is a must, that’s something you want to consistently do throughout college so by the time you graduate, your resume should be good to go. As long as your resume is updated, you can move on to optimizing your LinkedIn profile.

You can use LinkedIn to optimize your job search by following your favorite companies, posting unique articles, establishing new connections and even reaching out to recruiters to discuss potential opportunities.

To update your profile, make sure the most accurate information is added, re-word any job descriptions that aren’t up to par, and make sure your profile is complete overall. Make sure you have a detailed and specific summary, links to projects that demonstrate your experience and samples of your work, and even recommendations from past employers or professors.

An updated LinkedIn profile will serve as the perfect digital resume to attract potential employers.

Send a Cover Letter with Each Application

Make it a rule of thumb to send out a cover letter with each application you complete. Even if the employer doesn’t require a cover letter, at least send a small introductory letter about yourself and your experience. This can really help set you apart from competing candidates.

To simplify the process of sending a cover letter with each application, draft a sample one that you can make slight tweaks to depending on which jobs you are applying to. Your cover letter should be 300-500 and basically expand on the information in your resume as opposed to just repeating it.

It should have three basic paragraphs:

  • The 1st paragraph should be a brief introduction where you share some basic information about yourself. This would be the perfect time to add that you are a recent college grad and share your credentials.
  • The 2nd paragraph should explain your skills and how you completed certain tasks at different jobs to portray the fact that you are experienced enough for the position.
  • The 3rd and final paragraph should include a final pitch to the employer about what you can offer if hired and how you will be an asset to the team. You basically need to let them know exactly what you can do for them and how it will benefit the company

As you conclude, be sure to invite the reader to contact you to discuss the position and your qualifications further. Writing cover letter may sound tedious at first, but once you get into the habit of sending them out regularly, the application process will become shorter and shorter.

Apply For Paid Internships

Don’t be afraid to apply for paid internships after graduating college. You can search for paid internships on sites like CareerBuilder.com, Craigslist.org, Internships.com/paid, Monster.com, and Looksharp.com just to name a few.

Team Up with a Mentor

Finding a successful mentor in your industry to help offer you advice, tips, and guidance can be very beneficial. My university offered a free mentorship program where alumni would volunteer to be mentors to students and recent grads to help with things like review their resumes, offer career advice and job shadowing opportunities, and more.

See if your alma mater offers something similar to this as well or even be bold enough to reach out to someone successful in your industry who you admire and see if they’re like to develop a mentor relationship with you.

It doesn’t even have to be face-to-face mentorship as it can be via phone, Skype or email. Staying in contact with someone who can help motivate you and potentially point you to relevant job leads can give you a leg up on your peers.

Email Old Professors and Expand Your Network

If you have yet to start networking, it’s never too late to start. Start by emailing all your old professors whose classes you did well in to thank them for their course and ask if they could keep you in mind as a referral for any job opportunities they come across in the future. Feel free to each out to an old boss from an job or internship you’ve held as well.

Other ways to brush up on your networking skills and expand your network is to interact with people in your industry on social media, attend local conferences and meet-ups, and connect with people you know and worked with on LinkedIn. You never know who could refer you to your next job.

Continue to Look in a Variety of Places

While a variety of jobs are advertised online, more than half of all job openings aren’t advertised period according to PayScale. This is why it’s so important to establish a large network and have a good idea of where you’d like to work so you can reach out to the appropriate person to inquire about a job.

For the job postings that are advertised, try to switch up your search by using different methods of locating work as opposed to solely searching online. Look for leads in the local newspaper or on flyers or ads you see around your neighborhood. Attend local job fairs, ask your parent’s coworkers if they know anyone who’s hiring, and make some business cards to hand out if you end up meeting someone on the fly one day and want to stay in touch. You never know which interactions can lead to a new job.

Don’t Give Up

In addition to all these tips, don’t give up on your search no matter how rocky it gets. Consistently send out quality applications daily if you have to and be open-minded , brush up on your interview skills by doing mock interviews, and keep your budget low as you search for work.

Was it easy or hard to find a job when you graduated college? If you are a recent or soon-to-be college graduate, which one of these tips seems most important to you?

Posted in: Career and Work, Uncategorized

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