Graduating from college is a huge milestone. After the years of working to make it to this point, many graduates assume they will, in turn, be rewarded with a great job.
Finding a job is a difficult task, especially for recent graduates with little experience and in a competitive job market where older employees are working longer and leaving fewer job openings.
Here are six tips to keep in mind if you’re a recent graduate looking for a job:
Focus your search, but don’t be too picky. Don’t send your resume out for any position you see. This is not a good use of your time, and it’s not likely that you’ll be hired. If you’re not qualified for a job, then don’t apply for it. While you should focus your search on your specific area of interest, don’t limit yourself too much. It may be difficult to get an accounting position at a Big 4 firm immediately after graduating. Starting at a smaller firm is a good way to gain experience and beef up your resume, which can lead to you getting hired by a larger firm.
Find a mentor. If you haven’t graduated yet or if you are a recent graduate, it’s beneficial to have a mentor. Seek out a professional in your field of interest who can help guide you in your career path. Having someone experienced who sees your potential and drive will help you grow your network. They may be able to introduce you to others who can have an influence on your job search.
Focus on quality, not quantity. Only apply for jobs that are a good fit. Don’t get discouraged if your search is taking longer than expected, and don’t let that discouragement lead you to getting desperate- and sending out hundreds of resumes to any and all job openings you find. Instead, focus on the type of job you are a good fit for, and spend your time making your resume and cover letter reflect that. The quality of your application materials will be far more successful in getting you a job than the sheer number of jobs for which you apply.
Clean up your online presence. Employers want to find out as much as they can about potential employees, and that includes looking for them online and through social media. Make sure there’s nothing out there that you wouldn’t want them to see.
Rely on any experience you have. Being a new graduate often means you don’t have a lot of professional experience to tout. Don’t underestimate the value of experience you may have gained doing odd jobs or in volunteer or internship positions. Think about the types of experience you’ve gained in non-traditional settings and how they can be applied in a more professional environment.
Don’t check or answer your cell phone while interviewing or networking. Despite the fact that this generation of graduates has practically been raised with a cell phone, it’s still not appropriate to answer calls or texts while you’re in a meeting- whether formal or informal- with someone who can help you professionally. They deserve the respect of having your full attention, whether they are interviewing you for a job or casually meeting with you to network.
Searching for a job is a difficult task no matter how much experience you have, but it can be particularly challenging for recent college graduates. With persistency and the right mindset, your job search can be successful. Keep these tips in mind and your search should end in success.