For many college students in America, the last year of college is a time to be enjoyed and treasured for all it’s worth. If you’re a soon-to-be college graduate, you know exactly how exciting it can be to approach the end of your higher learning experience. At the same time, though, it’s natural to feel a little apprehensive about your immediate future – especially if you’ve had to borrow money to finance your education. Getting a job after college is usually a top priority for students.
You know that you need a job as quickly as possible when you graduate, and preferably one in your chosen field of study. The good news is that there are things you can do to increase your chances for successfully landing a good job after college. Here are 11 tips that can help you in getting a job after college.
1. Start Early!
Successful job searches rarely happen by accident. If you want to have a job waiting for you when you graduate, then you need to proactively seek out employment. You’ll need a strategy to find the right job, and will need to follow through on your plans to achieve your goal. For best results, it’s often better to start this process no later than the beginning of your senior year.
2. Be Organized
If you approach your job search without some sort of organizational system, your chances of success will be greatly diminished. Use a spreadsheet or other organizational tool to help you track your applications, resume submissions, interviews, follow-up efforts, and job fairs. That organizational approach will help to ensure that you stay on top of your best prospects, and can help you to avoid unnecessary stress.
3. Take Advantage of College Employment Resources
Your college almost certainly has employment resources designed to help students with career decisions. That staff can help you identify the right employers for your career objectives, and can help with resume creation and interview tips as well. Those resources are there for a reason, so use them to your advantage.
For example, here is the NYU career resources page where they show information on internships, jobs and career fairs. Many employers work directly with the college so don’t miss the awesome opportunity to land a job though their resources.
4. Develop a Network
If you think that networking is overrated, think again. You should be developing the strongest network of contacts that you can to help you with your job search. Whether it’s professors at the school, business people in the area, fellow students, or alumni, every contact matters.
5. Create and Send Your Resume – or Resumes
You need a resume that is keyword-optimized for applicant tracking systems. That optimization will help to ensure that your resume gets past the screening software and into the hands of human decision-makers. You can either create several resumes or learn to customize and tailor your main resume to meet different employers’ needs. That last part is critically important too. Every employer is different, so you need to be able to submit a resume that is targeted to each individual company.
Here’s a great post we wrote on how to write a resume with no experience.
6. Create Your Cover Letter
Make sure that you have a powerful cover letter to send with your resume. Ideally, it should help you strengthen your resume presentation and focus the hiring manager’s attention on your skills and core employment strengths, while making up for any lack of work experience. Like the resume, your cover letter should be flexible enough that you can customize it to apply in a variety of different application settings.
We also wrote a good post on writing a cover letter with no experience.
7. Cultivate Your Online Brand
It isn’t just employees who use job boards and online resources these days. Increasingly, employers look to the internet for solid job candidates. They also use it to screen potential employees. That means that you need to use it for more than just communicating with friends and family or sharing the latest cat video. You need to build a brand that showcases your skills and competencies.
8. Clean Up Your Social Media!
Sure, you had a blast in college, with regular games of beer pong and rowdy nights out on the town – when you weren’t studying, of course. How many of those potentially-embarrassing moments found their way into your Twitter feed or onto Facebook and other sites? If you don’t want employers to judge you based on your wild online posting history, then you should clear up your social media accounts to remove any posts that might present you in a less-than-flattering light.
8. Don’t Forget LinkedIn
When it comes to online social media, chances are that you’ve gravitated toward the flashier platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Maybe you SnapChat every now and then. But do you use LinkedIn? If not, you need to start. LinkedIn and other business networking sites may not be as glamorous and exciting as your Instagram account, but they’re essential for networking with the right contacts and presenting a professional image to the world.
Here’s how to write an awesome LinkedIn profile.
9. Practice Interviewing
Never walk into an interview unprepared. Work with your college career office to develop your interview skills. You should know how to answer the most common interview queries so that you’re comfortable when you sit down in front of any hiring manager. Practice a few anecdotes that can help to illustrate your skills and accomplishments. You want to be as prepared as possible so that you can display the confidence and competence that today’s employers need to see in any prospective hire.
Here are the top ten interview questions and answers to keep in mind.
10. Get Experience
Ideally, your first job application after graduation won’t be your first experience with the working world. While many employers will be open to working with candidates who have no experience, it never hurts to have at least one job that you can list on your resume. If you haven’t held down a job prior to your senior year, then it might be time to consider one. Even a part-time job or internship can help to round out your resume and demonstrate at least some experience with work.
11. Follow Up
Oh, and one more thing: follow up. Follow up on your resume submissions. Follow-up on your interviews. Be persistent, so that potential employers know that you’re committed to working for them. That persistence can help to separate you from the rest of the crowd and increase your chances of successfully obtaining the job you need.
We hope you found our tips for getting a job after college useful!
Good luck with your job search!