Finding a job after college is in many ways a separate job itself. First of all, it can be challenging due to the competition — you are not the only graduate with such set of skills, there are also your fellow students looking for jobs at the same time. Besides, having studied hard you may lack the real-life experience necessary to land the desired position.
Below are the tips that will help you stand out of the crowd and compensate for the lack of practice. To successfully land your first job after college you will need to:
- Make a list of companies you would like to work for.
- Create a job tracker not to miss a thing.
- Create your personal brand/ Adapt your resume to the job you apply for.
- Research your recruiters.
- Use networking.
Make a list
Most likely you have started thinking of it while you were at college, now it’s time to recollect all the companies you would like to work for. Try to make a list of at least 20 enterprises or startups that can be your employer.
Maybe you have friends working in a company and enjoying their jobs, or you’ve recently read about the companies that inspired you. Just add them all to the list. Bear in mind that you will need to limit the list geographically. Decide if you would like to move or would prefer to live in your home city. Besides, add to the list only those companies that suit your professional interests and ambitions, as well as personal values.
As soon as the list is ready, check those companies’ job boards or view their LinkedIn profiles to see if they have suitable openings. Then bookmark those companies and start monitoring them on a daily basis. If you begin your mornings by checking their job boards, you’ll have goods chances to be the first to know when they have new openings that might fit you.
While looking for suitable openings, do not overlook internships and work studies. If you cannot boast of any real-world experience this is a great way to get some. Ideally, one should have at least a couple of internships or work studies by the time they graduate.
However, there are companies that offer internships to recent graduates too. When choosing an internship you can be flexible and agree to the positions that are not exactly in your focus. You should treat this as an opportunity to get valuable working experience in a real organization, gaining practical and soft skills that you can easily use in future jobs. These may include specific application skills like Excel and Quickbooks or Photoshop and Figma.
Create a job tracker
After you have created a list, you can start sending out applications. To keep track of all the positions you apply for, you will need to create a tracker in Excel or any spreadsheet editor such as Google Sheets when you start to apply.
Your tracker will contain the following information:
- names of the companies and of the positions you have applied for;
- if you got an invitation for an interview or any other replies;
- dates for which interviews are scheduled;
- names of HR and recruiting managers, etc.
You’ll be applying for dozens of openings and not to get lost in them, you will need to keep everything in one place. Creating a tracker is a great way to document your progress in a job search. Besides, this will prevent you from missing the deadlines of any positions.
When looking for a suitable position, do not overlook the ones that require no special experience, for example, jobs in social media can be good to start with, this may be a great opportunity to gain valuable skills. The job search can take considerable time and meanwhile you can take up something temporary. This will help you to earn money for living and get ready for a job of your dreams.
Adapt your resume for the job market
In a job search, your main tool and asset is your resume. It is essential that you send a relevant version highlighting your most suitable skills to every opening.
However, when you are applying for dozens of jobs it may be time-consuming to create a separate resume for each position. The best solution here will be to create a version of your resume for every job market you apply for, for example, marketing, sales, customer service, etc. On the one hand, you won’t have too much work to do and on the other hand, you will get tailored versions of your resume emphasizing the qualities, and the experience relevant for this market.
Another important thing in preparing your resume is packing it with skills and experience. At the very beginning of the career, you may lack hard skills. So emphasize your soft skills and try to remember the experience you’ve gained when you were studying. Maybe you were into fundraising or a charity program. Recollect the side-projects you participated in, like creating a school website or building an online store for your football team merchandise.
If your resume still looks a bit skinny, you may want to get some extra skills and take up self-learning courses. Try out sites like Skillshare where you can get new professional skills in different spheres: design, coding, business administration, and many more. A monthly subscription to the service costs about $10 per month, but it is totally worth it as you will be able to get the missing skills to make your resume look more solid. Besides, the fact that you are continuing your studies will look really impressive on your resume, and will definitely catch the attention of recruiters.
When your resume is ready, check and prepare your social media profiles. Most likely your prospective employer after receiving your resume will search your social media accounts and peruse any other information about you they can find online. Think of yourself as a brand, add to your profiles the information that you may benefit from, and remove anything that can throw a negative light over your personality.
Research your recruiters
Before you meet with a recruiter, always take time to research the company they represent. Check the company’s profile at Glassdoor to learn interesting things about the CEO, insights, and feedback from current and former employees. You can also check the photos, videos, mission statements as well as social media accounts.
Having this information in mind, you’ll be prepared for every step of the interview process.
Employers really appreciate it when you take the time to get to know their company at a deeper level. Do not forget to check what the company’s out-of-office life is like. What do their employees enjoy doing in their spare time? This will help to create relevant connections. Add interests you have in common with a certain company into your resume before you apply. This really matters because you will need to spend about 40 hours a week with these people, so it’s crucial both for them and you that you share hobbies, values, and interests.
You can also try to find out what the company values most of all in its employees: self-discipline, initiative, creativity, or independent thinking. Package your resume around these concepts, so they can easily find you by the keywords.
Here is a comprehensive list of everything you need to look for when you’re researching a company recommended by Glassdoor:
- Company culture
- Company values
- Company history
- Who you’ll be working with
- Their competitors
- Financial picture
- The vacation policy
- Employee community
- Healthcare benefits
- Recent news
- General benefits
If you haven’t graduated yet it’s high time to start meeting local people in your industry hiring new graduates. Ask them questions about their career and establish a personal connection that you may be able to use in the future. After that, you can connect with them on LinkedIn, thank them for their time, and ask them follow-up questions.
In case you are a graduate already, you can ask your parents if they have connections in the companies you are interested in, or your college professors, maybe their former students can connect you with the right people.
It is perfect if you get referred to every position you apply for. So it is totally worth looking for people who can recommend you for a job. It may be a bit intimidating to ask for help every time you apply, but in fact, if you try to find someone who can refer you, your chances to get hired will dramatically increase.
The job hunt can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. If you feel that you get physically and emotionally exhausted by rejections, or you cannot even get an interview appointment, try to lay back and relax a bit. Give yourself time to make things happen.
Meanwhile, you can shift your focus from landing a job to self-education: think of the skills you lack and try to find a course to obtain them, improve self-presentation skills if you feel that interviews stress you, find a career-professional to help you make the best of your resume. Your efforts will soon pay off and you’ll get the job you deserve.