Landing a Job After Graduation
So, you’ve graduated from college with your Bachelor’s degree. That means you’ve got a job in your chosen field, right? Not necessarily. It takes new college graduates three to six months to find their first “real job” post-graduation, but you can accelerate the process. If you remain focused on your goals and develop a strong plan, you can kick-start your career.
Build Your Network
Developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet is a critical part of job searching. When you build and expand your network, you increase your exposure to new job opportunities. Don’t limit your network to just professionals in your chosen field. Think of your relationships like doorways: if you open the right one, it could lead to your dream job.
Before companies launch a new product, they do extensive market research. They find out what the market wants and what messages resonate with their consumer base. You should do the same. Take some time to look through various job descriptions in your field. What words do you see most often? Are there common themes? What characteristics do employers in your field say they’re looking for? Once you have that information, be sure your resume uses those terms and speaks to those needs. Clearly spell out how you fit the bill by using their own words, and employers will spend more than the typical six seconds reviewing your resume.
Ask for Help
Your alma mater has a vested interest in your professional success. Colleges and universities love to tout the employment rates and starting salaries of their graduates, and many of them have resources that can help you in your quest. Even after you’ve graduated, the experts in your school’s career services office are there to help. Ask a career counselor to give feedback on your resume and conduct a mock interview with you. When you get a great job with a great starting salary, both parties win!
Continue to Build Your Skills
If you’re currently unemployed or underemployed, you may have time on your hands. Because many career fields change over time, you’ll need to be able to stay competitive. If there’s an area of specialty in your field, this is a great time to find an online course to build your skills. Perhaps you only got a basic introduction to a topic that could be beneficial to a future employer. Your local community college may have continuing education opportunities to bolster the skills you already have.
Put Your Skills on Display
After you’ve put all that effort into developing your resume, make sure people can find it! Create profiles on multiple job search and professional networking websites. These sites use algorithms that can put your name in front of recruiters looking for someone like you.
Joining a trade association or special interest group relevant to your field can help you nurture your professional network. Many have job boards that are available to members only. Additionally, it’s common for affinity groups to host networking functions where you can meet representatives from companies that might interest you. While you may have to pay a membership fee, joining such an organization could be a worthwhile investment.
Perfect Your Elevator Speech
A 30-second elevator speech is essentially a commercial about you. A recruiter won’t want to listen to a long, rambling explanation of who you are, what kind of position you’re looking for, and what skills you have. So, you need to fit all three of those categories into one digestible speech that you can deliver with confidence. Start with a blank piece of paper and jot down the words that describe you, your ideal job, and your best qualities. Use those keywords to craft your speech, and be sure to practice it!
Can donating your time really help you get a paying job? The answer is emphatically, “Yes!” The Corporation for National and Community Service found that “volunteering is associated with 27% higher odds of employment.” Volunteering helps you expand your network, and it helps you build and demonstrate skills that can be valuable in the workplace. Plus, it demonstrates a commitment to community that is attractive to employers. So research a cause that is important to you and find out how you can get involved in your local community. Not sure where to start? The United Way keeps a database of open volunteer positions that you can search by interest and location.
It’s not always easy to transition into the next stage of your life. But, if you keep these ideas in mind and use your time wisely, you’ll have that job offer in hand sooner than you think.