3 Tips for Getting a Job After Graduating College

Our complete guide to finding yourself a job and starting your career after finally getting that college diploma.

Ryan Morrisby Ryan MorrisGet The Job, Guides - 3 months ago

Finding your first job after college can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.

The fact that you only have to find your first job once can come as little consolation to the person sending out their 48th job application of the month, with little reason to believe that THIS is the one that will finally get them some steady income.

You’ve got no experience, few skills, and possibly no practical industry-knowledge — because up to this point, everything’s been theoretical.

In theory, you can do a lot of different jobs. But how do you convince an employer to take a chance on what might, to them, be a bad investment?

It’s a question whose answer starts from the very top of the job-hunting process.

Fortunately, we’ve got a few tips to help you put together your own answer and get started on your career without languishing for too long in your post-graduation ennui.

Contents

1. Most Common Problems With Finding a Job After College

There are a lot of reasons why finding a job after college is tough, but one reason stands out most of all:

You don’t have any experience.

Almost every job you’ll see listed — even many supposedly “entry level” jobs — are going to require a certain level of experience.

And even if you spent every possible free moment in school looking for opportunities to gain this experience, there’s still always the chance that by the time you finally get out on the hunt, you just won’t have the experience necessary to get many of the positions you’re hoping for.

That’s not the only problem that people just out of college are having when it comes to finding jobs in the “real world” — there’s also:

  • The lack of a network. The way most people find new jobs isn’t through cold applications — it’s actually through a complicated network of personal and professional connections. As a person fresh out of school, there’s just very little chance that your connections, should you have any at all, will be particularly robust.
  • A bad resume. It’s tough to know precisely how to construct a resume if you’ve never had to have a “real” job before. A lot of the time, even people who worked all the way through college ended up working FOR their college in some capacity, and many colleges will hire students even with bad or incomplete resumes. They’re willing to take a chance on you, since they’re not really taking a chance at all — most real businesses aren’t so forgiving.
  • Poor interview skills. As a new college graduate, it’s very likely that you’ve had little to no experience with the actual process of interviewing for a job, and so there are a lot of nuances that you just won’t have the context for — things like having the right answers for loaded questions, knowing when and how to follow up, and other interview-specific knowledge.

2. Constructing Your First Post-College Resume

Whatever you’re doing after college, no matter what sort of job you’re applying for, the first step is always to double (and then triple) check your resume.

The resume is the first — and often last — thing that a hiring manager or employer is going to see about you, and it is absolutely necessary that your resume be constructed as perfectly as possible.

It has to cast you in the best possible light, and in addition to being catered to your particular industry, it should — at least in some way — be catered to the specific job listing that you are actively applying to.

Here are a few big tips for constructing your first big post-college resume:

  • As stated above, the resume should be catered to more than just your industry — it should change based on the job listing itself that you’re applying to. Get in the habit early on of making small changes to your basic resume so that it is more attractive and relevant to the listing you’re looking at, including things like changing keywords, rewording work experiences, changing orders, and even adding or removing entire sections.
  • On a similar note, have at least 2-3 target job listings in mind when creating your resume. It will help you make it specific early on, not to mention giving you something concrete to do with your resume as soon as you finish it, which should help you get started on your job hunt as soon as possible.
  • If you’re still in college or in touch with your college, try to meet with your school’s Career Resources department. Almost every school has this department — or something like it — full of career professionals who can give you personalized resume advice based on your particular needs.

3. How to Get a Job After College

Once you take the time to put together a stellar resume — or at least as good of a resume as you can scrape together, given your lack of experience — then you’re well on your way to finding your first job.

Just kidding, there’s a buttload of other stuff to do. You’re nowhere near done yet.

You’re in the Job Zone now. You’re here until you either die or retire, and given the current state of the economy, one of those options is slightly likelier than the other.

Hint: It’s the death one.

Fortunately, we’re here to help.

Here are a few more things you can do to help yourself find your first real job after college:

  • Start growing your network. Attend coffee hours or local job fairs. Meet people. Schmooze. Add them on Linked-In and ask them to golf with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at golf — they’re probably not, either.
  • Ask for referrals from anyone you’ve worked for, be they professors or employers. Without a lot of work history to show for yourself, referrals are an excellent way for hiring managers to understand your work ethic, which just might get you hired.
  • Make sure there aren’t any industry-specific job hunting accoutrements that you might be overlooking — things like having an online presence or Twitter account, having a portfolio, memberships or certifications with certain organizations, or other things like this.
  • Lastly, have a few people you know look over your resume — people whose opinion you trust, like professors or parents or in-laws who have lots of money. Then start sending your resume out like crazy. If you want to get hired, you need to treat the job hunt as a full-time job in and of itself. Otherwise, you just aren’t going to be putting in the right number of hours.

Wrapping Up:

That’s all for this one! Just keep in mind:

Above all, you should remember that you are rarely alone in your fight to find a job.

Talk to your old professors, and talk to your school. The college that you attended is invested in your success — after all, the better you do after graduating, the better they look.

While the actual problem of job-hunting and interviewing remains on your shoulders alone, college resources are often overlooked by people out on the prowl for their first major position.

Don’t let yourself be one of those people. Know when — and how — to ask for help when you need it.

And if your parents or other guardian figures are around to help you, ask them too.

Even if their experience doesn’t seem relevant, they’ve been around the block longer than you have — they just might know something you don’t.

Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:

3 Tips for Identifying the Worst Companies to Work For
3 Tips on How to Follow Up With a Recruiter
Tips on How to End a Cover Letter to Get the Job

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