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.
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.
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.
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
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.