Tips for Post-Graduation Job Hunting Success

search_2015.jpgIt’s a well-known conundrum—you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get the experience. Here are 10 tips on how to land a job post-college.

  1. Make an effort. There is no silver bullet for finding a job. It takes effort and the more you put in, the better the results you’ll have.
  2. Know thyself. What are you looking for? What are your qualities and qualifications? Strengths and weaknesses? In order to be focused and realistic about your search, it is crucial to know what you are a good at, and understand which careers it’s conducive to. Apply for positions that play to your strengths, rather than applying to any job that you could do.
  3. Study up. If your aim is to work at a specific company or in a particular field, take the time to research what positions and companies are in the industry. Contact someone in your field of choice and see if you can do an informational interview or job shadow with them. If you don’t have contacts, your school’s career office may connect you with alumni who could help.
  4. Customize your resume. If you’re doing it right, each resume you send out will be different. Go over the position requirements and decide how well your qualifications align with the posting. Highlight the required skills in your resume and cover letter and don’t forget to have someone proofread for you. If you don’t have the qualifications, make a plan on how to get them.
  5. Start early. Ideally you’ll be doing all of the above before college ends, so you’ll be prepared to launch into your first job. A summer internship in your field of choice can provide insight on what you’re getting into, looks good on a resume, and gets you invaluable contacts or even professional references within the industry.
  6. Talk talk talk. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job, and what it is that you are qualified to do, or would like to do. Your next employer could be the friend or spouse of someone you know. See if your university’s career center can set you up with alumni contacts in your industry. Have a connection within an industry or company is an advantage.
  7. Practice makes perfect. If you do get an interview, prepare a set of questions- ones you think they’ll ask, and ones that you’d like to ask about your potential employer. Then come up with potential answers by making talking points based on the job requirements. Make sure to research the industry and company.
  8. Put your best foot forward. Update your online presence to create a professional-looking personal brand. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, get one, and use it to network and look for jobs. Recruiters can also look at your qualifications this way. Use LinkedIn to follow industry news in your field, show off your portfolio, or display other credentials.
  9. Be prepared. You may be asked for references and/or letters of recommendation. Before you apply to a related job, ask three people whether they’d mind being your reference. If there is something specific that you’d like the reference to highlight, be sure to mention that. Have transcripts and copies of certifications and licensure ready, if applicable.
  10. Get a foot in the door. You may not find the perfect position immediately. If there isn’t a direct path to your chosen job, look for a job within the same industry or company, and glean all the knowledge needed to work your way toward your ideal position. Some companies post openings internally first, so get to know people in that department, and have your resume updated, for when opportunity knocks.


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