May 1, 2013

Job Hunting Survival Guide: Tips for the Recent College Grad

new careerAre you or someone you know about to graduate from college? Have you start job hunting yet? It’s springtime and this is the ideal time to start looking, if you haven’t already begun your search. Ideally, you have a few college jobs and internships under your belt. But even if you don’t, these tips should help you get started in your search for your first job after college.

  1. Attend Career Fairs. Check your college bulletin for your school’s spring career fair. This is a great opportunity to meet recruiters and managers face to face. Sometimes, you can easily overcome a weak resume with a sharp professional appearance. Wear a well-fitting suit, bring at least 20 resumes, and put on your best smile. If your school doesn’t have a career fair, check your local government office for career fairs in your area.
  2. Reach out to former employers. Did you have a great internship with Estee Lauder? Or did you do some volunteer work with someone who works in the advertising industry? Contact your past employers and contacts, build professional relationships with them by remembering them on holidays, contacting them once every few months, etc. When the time is right, ask for job advice and ask for any possible job leads.
  3. Polish your resume and build a LinkedIn profile. Writing a strong resume is important for a recent college graduate. Seek help at your college’s career center or attend a free resume review at a local job fair. Also, creating a LinkedIn profile is highly beneficial because it will help you connect with professionals in your industry. These professionals can include past coworkers and employers, as well as friends and friends of friends.
  4. Target and research companies of your choice. Are you looking to work in Accounting? Research Accounting firms before you apply. Figure out where you would like to work and check their websites often for new job openings.
  5. Apply Early. Apply within the first week a job is posted. The sooner you apply, the higher your chance of getting hired. Usually within 2-3 weeks, interviews have already begun and your resume may not even be reviewed.

Other tips:

Looking for your first full time position can be incredibly stressful. With lines of unemployed people, it is easy to get discouraged. Approximately 50% of all college graduates in the U.S. will not find full time work in their first 6-12 months after graduation. Those that find jobs may be underpaid and overqualified.

Keep looking, but don’t forget to:

  • Take breaks, and spend time with friends and family. Even if you’re unemployed, it’s good to get out and forget about the stresses of job hunting.
  • Reward yourself. Did rewrite your resume into a piece of majestic magnificence? Did you muster up your courage and go to a job fair? Reward yourself for the small successes of what seems like an endless battle.
  • Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and build a resume before you land the job you really want. Plus, it feels great to help others.
  • Remember that you’re not the only one. After 6-8 months of being unemployed, many people begin to blame themselves for their unemployed status. Even if you send out 100 resumes a month, you may still not find a job. It’s not always your fault. You, like hundreds of people like you, are qualified to do the job, but there are just not enough jobs out there. Do your best to differentiate yourself and you will succeed.

Lastly, I want to end with a great quote:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

–          Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Laura Pierson is a former English teacher who now works in the Human Resources Recruiting department of a large Fortune 500 company. She is passionate about recruiting, employee benefits, and employee relations. In her spare time, Laura is a freelance writer and blogger for FreeResumeBuilder.