Expert Tips on Finding A Job Right After College

If you recently graduated from college – congrats! If you are graduating soon, keep pushing and great job on being proactive.

According to the Pew Research Center, 39% of millennials have a bachelor’s degree. Gen Z (born 1997 and beyond) is already on track to be the most educated generation in America. When a recent grad enters the market, that individual is competing with the other millions of new college graduates.

Finding a job after college

You are taught to do a job, not get one. Prepory, a career coaching company, is going to share some of the best tips we practice with our clients to successfully land them their dream job.

Tip #1 – Get clear on your target 

Get clear on your career interests and be open minded. Some majors are more broad than others. If you earned a degree in Software Engineering, you likely have a more narrow outlook for jobs than someone who earned a degree in Business Administration.

Think about these questions:

What kind of job position do you want?

What are your talents and skills that contribute to tasks and responsibilities?

What are the kind of companies you want to work with?

Big company vs small company?

Startup vs established company?

Where, geographically, are you willing to work?

Example #1: You majored in Marketing and you really enjoyed a course where you practiced email marketing. Consider narrowing your search to Email Marketing Coordinator, Email Marketing Assistant, and Marketing Coordinator in a company that works heavily in email marketing, such as Constant Contact.

Example #2: You majored in Sociology and found you really enjoy helping people be organized, coordinating events, client interaction, negotiating, and a company with a great mission. Consider an Event Coordinator role with a non-profit whose mission aligns with your values.

Think about the social issues you are most passionate about and research the non-profit organizations working towards solving it. Below are a few examples of non-profits working on different issues:

The Environment – The World Wide Fund for Nature

Children – Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

LGBTQ – Pride Foundation

Women and Children – Abby’s House

Humanitarian – Human Rights Watch

It is common for individuals to land a job that is not directly related to the core coursework of their major. Don’t feel caged in by the field of study on your degree.

Tip #2: Build a “master” resume

Check out our blog on How to Write a Resume in 2020 to help get you started. The resume you share with employers should be one-page at most. However, your master resume will serve as an internal resource and will include all of your experience. Include every single project, job, volunteering opportunity, internship, etc. you did throughout your college years. This could exceed one-page and that’s okay, as I said, this is an internal resource. You will not share this with employers.

Tip #3: Tailor your resume 

Now that you have your master resume, you can pull from this document to tailor your resumes for all jobs. Follow all the tips you got from the How to Write a Resume blog. If you are sending the same resume to every employer, you are doing this wrong. The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. There are plenty of resume rules, creating a resume that reflects how your experience is a match with what the company is looking for is essential.

This is incredibly important for your resume to make it to the lap of a hiring manager.  According to Jobscan, over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). “Rather than manually reviewing each resume, recruiters and hiring managers can search for resumes based on keywords, or have the system filter or automatically rank applicants.”

How to tailor your resume:

If you are not tailoring your resume to reflect how your experience directly matches their job posting, your resume will more than likely get filtered out and lost. This does not mean copy and paste keywords from the job posting into your resume and think it’s complete. Be strategic, read the entire job posting, and create your resume from there.

Make a copy of your master resume, delete all the bullet points and experiences that don’t relate to the job posting. Keep only the experience that is relevant and then adjust your bullet points to match keywords from the posting.

Tip #4: Tailor your cover letter

Surprise! If you are tailoring your resume then you should also be tailoring your cover letter. In your cover letter you will:

  • Clearly introduce yourself.

  • Address why you are interested in this company specifically, discuss their mission and values.

  • Address your relevant experience that is not redundant to your resume. One option is to flesh out a bullet point from your resume that is directly related to how you can excel in the role and company you are applying to.

  • Discuss the best relevant qualities and skills you possess that make the ideal candidate for this role.

  • End with a note that opens the floor for a meeting, interview, phone call, etc.

While it would help you to have a loose cover letter template, you should be tailoring each one to the role you are applying to. If the job posting says, “cover letter optional,” include a cover letter! Some applicants won’t bother with the extra work, but if you take the time to write a great cover letter, it can help set you apart.

Tip #5: Apply consistently

The job search process requires commitment, attention to detail, and consistency. Schedule a time block every day when you dedicate yourself to applying to jobs. Consider it your temporary part-time job to find a job. It is highly recommended you search on a daily basis for a couple of hours instead of spending 10-15 hours over the weekend on it. Jobs are released daily and by the time you check over the weekend, there could be hundreds of applicants ahead of you for competitive roles.

Tip #6: Be organized

Track what jobs you are applying for and when you submitted your application. It does not have to be complicated. Create a google spreadsheet or an excel with basic information. Always hyperlink the position to the job posting to stay organized. As you continue to apply to more and more jobs, it will be challenging to depend on solely your memory.

Have this document handy and reference it when you are going to follow up on an application or when you get a call from an employer. It does not reflect well on a candidate when a hiring manager calls and the candidate has no idea what job, company or even city the job is located in.

Tip #7: Quality over quantity

Tailoring your resume and cover letter takes time and effort. It’s important you are dedicating your time, energy, and resources on jobs you would ultimately accept. Review the job description and make sure you are a viable candidate. You are better off applying to 20 jobs that are great fits for you than to apply to 100 that you don’t actually think you’d like.

Tip #8: Network network network

The wider you cast your net to find a job, the more opportunities you will come across. Take advantage of social media sites, especially LinkedIn to network. Actively put yourself on the market, make connections and nurture them. This is another reason why being clear on your target is important. You cannot post or talk about what you want if you are not clear on what you want.

You may be surprised by how willing people are to connect you to a job posting or someone they know, which they can only do if they know you are looking for it!

Attend networking events. These are common in major cities, colleges and universities sometimes host them, and you can check on Eventbrite and Meetup. Prepare your elevator pitch, dress business casual and do your research on what kind of networking event it is.

For example, if you are attending a “Women in Tech” networking event that begins with a panel featuring 4 women in the industry, do your research and know what roles they fill and what companies they work for. That will help you start the conversation with them when it’s time to network.

Networking will allow you to practice your interpersonal skills, pitch yourself, and allow you to be more comfortable in interviews.

Tip #9: Preparing for Interviews 

If you have been on a few interviews with no callback, it’s time to reflect and try something new. Check out our blog for a Guide to a Successful Interview.

Do your research. Treat an interview like a research project. Learn all about the interviewer, the company, its mission, values, leaders, competitors, culture, and the job position available.

Go on Glassdoor and click on their “Interviews” tab. There you can review comments and prepare for how the company could possibly hold the interview. Glassdoor is a great resource, especially for midsize to large companies.

Dress the part. Researching the company culture is also important to ensure you dress appropriately. If the dress code is very lenient and casual (e.g. young startups, Google) then dress business casual. Do not show up in jeans and polo because you read the dress code for employees is jeans and a polo. You are not an employee, yet. Dress a step up from the dress code. If the company is traditional and has “casual Fridays” then dress business formal attire.

Practice public speaking. This is where all your networking will come in handy. Practice answering common questions like “Tell me about yourself.” Consider recording yourself answering interview questions and listening to it afterward. When you listen to the recording, check for filler words such as um, like, er, ah, uh, you know, etc. Filler words are incredibly common and distracting. The first step in addressing this is to be aware of which words you use and how often.

Know your resume. You should know every single bullet point of every single relevant work experience on your resume.

Bring copies of your resume. This shows you come prepared and will help the hiring manager if they don’t have any copies at hand.

Landing an interview is a huge accomplishment, make sure you do everything in your control to show up ready and confident.

Tip #10: Follow-up 

Follow up with an email to the recruiter after applying to a job if you have not heard back and it is a top priority job for you. Recruiters and hiring managers are people too, sometimes they get overwhelmed at work and applications fall through the cracks.

Always follow up after an interview with a thank-you email. If you had a phone interview and for some reason, you do not have the interviewer’s email, request it before the end of the call and then follow up afterward with a thank you email. If you had an in-person interview with multiple people, send a follow-up email to each interviewer, separately. These are short and simple. No more than 100 words.

Tip #11: Check your social media 

Employers are checking your social media. Believe it. It is imperative that you check your social media and objectively review your content. Read #12 on our blog 15 Tips on How to Write a Cold Email for a Job.

Tip #12: Stay Positive

We’ll leave you with this. Stay positive. Finding a job after graduating from college is a marathon. If you had a bad interview, it’s okay. Now you get to learn how to recover from a bad interview. Check what went wrong and come up with a strategy to do better in your next interview.

Be consistent and pace yourself. Stay clear on your goal – getting your first “adult” job.

Alejandra Hernandez

If you are interested in career coaching services, click here to schedule a free consultation with Prepory.

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At Prepory, we recognize there is more to college applications than demonstrating interest. Contact us now to learn more about how we can guide you through each part of the college admissions process!