What if you cannot find a job after graduation?

Finding a job as a recent college graduate can be challenging under the best of circumstances. However, there are some mistakes many novice job seekers make that may be getting in the way of getting hired. Having a coach to guide and advise may make the difference in getting the interview and getting the job.

Why you may be having trouble finding your first job

College graduates need to select one or two job goals. If you don’t know what types of jobs are available, then conduct an organized exercise of “thinking outside the degree-box” for jobs that you are suited for and will enjoy doing.

While securing a college degree is fantastic, a major in college does not define the type of job that you seek. For example, you could have majored in Political Science and ultimately take a job in sales.

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Tip #1 – Get in Front of Employers

Take advantage of every available opportunity to connect with employers in person, or virtually, such as job fairs, campus interviews and other networking events.
A résumé cannot tell your whole story to an employer, so a face-to-face meeting, no matter how brief, gives you an opportunity to provide details about your skills and experience.

Employers tell us that face-to-face situations help them to confirm if a candidate will be a good fit for the job and organization.

In our current situation with COVID 19 we are all doing things differently. That means, for now, your job search will be different too.
  • In-person interviews are not likely to happen for a while. Your interviews will be virtual from your computer or smart phone.
  • Your interview will be conducted using one of the many on-line platforms like Zoom or Skype. You can access these for free. Be familiar with them.
  • Dress professionally; even on a virtual call, you need to look “ready for work”.
  • Have a clean background if your conducting you’re interview from your home, or use one of the simple backgrounds offered on the platform you will be using for your interview.
  • Conduct the virtual interview in a quiet place.
  • During the interview, turn off the ringer on your cell phone.
  • Have your list of questions prepared for the hiring manager
  • Attend virtual job fairs.
  • For job fairs as well as virtual interviews, dress professionally; hiring managers will be watching you.
  • Submit your résumé on line as requested prior to the job fair.
  • Be prepared to send your résumé directly to the hiring manager during the interview. Have your résumé, cover letter and references ready in a file ready to send at a moment’s notice.
  • Attend virtual Meet-Ups to get job leads and expand your professional network.

Additional Tips for Graduates


Networking is one of the best ways to find employment. Start with family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers and professors to inquire about opportunities and get some leads. Join and attend professional organization meetings in your field. Ask “Who do you know that would know about finding a job in [list your field of interest]?”

Tap the hidden job market and make connections through social networking. It has been reported that 80 percent of jobs are never advertised. Your challenge is to find out where those jobs exist

Don’t wait

As a career coach, one of the things I often hear from all my clients is “I’m waiting to hear back” or “I’ve applied to 10 jobs online and nobody is calling me” for an interview.

Be constructive: follow up with the hiring manager or HR contact to make sure they received your résumé. Put this on your calendar to remind you to follow up five days after you have applied.

Don’t forget to use your LinkedIn network and ask your college alumni for their help if they work for your target company.

Research job descriptions

Once you have a targeted job, research what the hiring companies are looking for.  Find 10 job descriptions and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that are most commonly repeated. Using these keywords as a guide, highlight those skills in your résumé and cover letter. Create a “one sheet outline” to bring to your interview that will review coursework you excel in that are similar to the job description.

Do an internship

Job seekers can never get too much experience, and an internship is a great way to get it. Although it can feel like taking a step backwards to do an internship after college, keeping your skills sharpened and adding more skills will show the potential employer than you are still investing in your talent.

More and more workers job are using internships as a way to sharpen their work experience when they experience a tough time finding a new job.


Spending time on volunteer activities is not just a great way to contribute to the community. Job hunters who volunteer for causes they believe in also gain new skills and new networks, including potential employers.

Consider a part-time job or contract work

Although it is not ideal to work part-time or as a contractor, it can help to bring in money while you actively pursue full-time options. It also shows employers that the candidate demonstrates a strong work ethic.

Create a personal website

Creating a personal website can help job seekers show off their expertise and build their brand. As a recent college graduate, you can use a website to blog about issues related to the field you want to enter, display class projects and share your résumé. This can also be a great way to differentiate yourself from other applicants who don’t have a website.

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