This is it. You submitted your last paper, gave one final presentation, and handed in your 100th exam. Grades are in (okay, you can breathe now), Mom and Dad are on their way, and dinner reservations have been made. A celebration is in order. Congratulations!
In a few days, though, when all the pomp and circumstances fade and you’ve stopped listening to “Good Riddance” while crying on your best mates’ shoulders, you’ll make your way back home and indulge in a much-deserved two-week-long Netflix binge session.
When you emerge with grayish skin, arms full of crumpled Cheetos bags, and a new affinity for BBC period dramas, that’s when Mom will look at you and say, “Okay, honey. I think it’s time to start looking for a job.”
I’ll say it again: Congratulations!
But, have no fear. The folks over at staffing agency Kavaliro are here to lend you some sage advice for your journey into adulthood. Director of Recruiting Noelle Williams has a few tips and ideas to share with you about that dreaded post-graduation job search.
(And I can personally promise you this: The job market isn’t as bleak as your Grandmama says it is.)
Get a Jump-Start On Your Search
Williams says recent grads can hit the ground running if they take the following steps:
- Try to get an internship in the field you’re interested in. The best part about internships is they give you the ability to find out what you want to do – and, more importantly, they teach you what you don’t want to do.
- If an internship isn’t possible, try to network within the community and find a company that will allow you to job shadow. Having the excuse of being a recent college grad gives you free reign to reach out to companies and see what the day-to-day consists of at various organizations. (We recommend you invest a little time in your LinkedIn profile before reaching out to employers.)
- Networking is key. Reach out to your alumni association and career center. They usually have a ton of connections in the area. Don’t forget to tap into those valuable connections and maintain contact.
- Start now! You don’t want to be in the same boat as other graduates starting their career searches a few months after graduation. Start before the crowd and you’ll have a better chance at standing out and making an impact on future employers.
Make Your Resume Stand Out
Hopefully, you took advantage of your school’s career center and they helped you craft a stellar resume, but in the event that you didn’t, take heed: Don’t put jobs on your resume that aren’t relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Williams says it’s more important to list projects you worked on in school than babysitting or service jobs. Break down your resume into sections of employment, education, projects, etc., to ensure it’s in line with what you’re applying for. Add a link to your portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile. This will give the resume a more personal touch and allow hiring managers to see the work you have done in the past.
Be an Efficient Job Seeker
Once you have your resume ironed out, Williams says, you need to sit down and figure out what you’re looking for. Decide what job aspects mean the most to you. Is it money? Location and culture? Responsibilities of the job? This will help narrow down your search.
It’s also important to only apply for the jobs you’re qualified for and would actually be interested in. Don’t blast your resume to positions that wouldn’t fit your education and experience. Doing so will only waste your time and the time of the poor HR soul sifting through piles of resumes.
Pitfalls to Avoid Once You’re ‘In’
I’m a “millennial,” too, so I know we all have grand ideas about entering the workplace and quickly climbing the ladder to a position that will look good on Facebook.
But guess what? It’s probably not going to happen very quickly. Entry-level positions are okay. They give you a foot in the door and an opportunity to learn.
Williams says you should step back and embrace being a new employee. Don’t try to cut corners in the beginning. Follow the steps given to you. Always be willing to roll up your sleeves and take on additional tasks. These will help you learn.
And never say, “That’s not my job.” Every experience allows you to learn. Be willing to go above and beyond.
Trust me, we’ve all been in your position. Your first post-grad job search is scary and daunting and, at times, it’s incredibly intimidating. Try to enjoy the process for what it is: a new life experience. You’ll likely bomb an interview or two and make a few more mistakes along the way, but if you follow Williams’ tips, you’ll (hopefully!) have a job soon.
And hopefully it will be before those student loan bills start arriving. Yikes.