Graduating from college is a huge step. Whatever degree you’ve earned, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into learning the material and skills you need to help you succeed for the rest of your life.
Of course, while your college graduation is an important end to your college career, it’s also a beginning—a beginning to your being a part of the workforce in the real world.
For many recent college graduates, finding that first post-college job is a daunting prospect. After all, being a student is practically all you’ve ever known. But with a little planning and a little know-how, you can make landing your first job after college less stressful.
Here are our five best tips for landing your first post-college job.
Choose a career path.
What is your dream job? Why did you study what you did in college? You can’t take a smart first step if you don’t know where you ultimately want to end up. Don’t expect to land your dream job right away (reality check: it won’t happen), but once you identify it, you can work backward from there to find a job you can do right now that will help you reach your goal eventually. Taking this approach will hopefully help you not get stuck in an “in-between” job or in an industry you’re not really interested in.
Graduating proves that you know your stuff, but do you know the people who can help you succeed? Networking is one of the best ways to get a “foot in the door” at many companies and to help you start to build a strong reputation in your desired industry. Start with people you know (professors, classmates, family), and simply put the word out that you’re looking for a job. Take the next step by attending career fairs, industry networking events, or association meetings that can help you make valuable connections.
Polish your resume and social media presence.
Contrary to what some people might think, a resume is still a powerful and necessary tool when it comes to getting hired. Your resume is your best chance to present potential employers with a concise, relevant list of your qualifications. A strong resume can send you straight to the top of the “interview” list, while a forgettable resume can end up in the waste bin. Make sure your resume highlights your best qualities, especially the ones that the company is specifically looking for. Read this for more tips on creating a strong resume.
Similarly, you should also pay attention to your social media presence. Consider your profiles as “permanent online resumes” where employers can go to learn more about you, your personality, your work habits, and more. Make sure that your social media presence is telling a story you’re comfortable having potential employees hear.
You proved in college that you can do homework; now it’s time to put those skills to the test. Research is important for showing potential employers that you care about working for them, specifically. Take some time to look at their company website and get a feel for their culture and style. Try to mimic those things in your communication with them, especially in your interview. Be familiar with the kind of work they do, the clients they have, and the methods they follow. Knowing these things will set you apart from the other people vying for the job.
Don’t give up.
It can be tempting to give up on finding a great job if you aren’t able to find one quickly. But don’t lose hope! Finding a great job can take time and patience. Even if you have to take on a temporary job while you wait for an ideal job to open up, don’t stop actively looking for a job that will start you down your desired career path.
Alternatively, if you’re having a hard time landing the job you want, you can always consider something less conventional, like entrepreneurship. No matter what you decide, the goal is to not let desperation get in the way of your dreams and career goals.
Your first job out of college sets the stage for the rest of your time in the workforce. Follow these tips to help you land a great job that will get you off to a great start!
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