A lot of graduates believe that once they receive their diploma, the job offers will start flying in. It is important for seniors to begin the search early. I am right now in my senior year at college and I have seen many friends graduate and then find themselves jobless and moving back in with Mom and Dad. It can be very frustrating to have a degree but nowhere to work. Just how do you find a job as a recent grad? Here are our best tips.

Know What You Want in a Job

You might think that prospective employers will appreciate an “I’m willing to do or learn anything” approach to getting a job; however, most employers interpret that as “I’m desperate” or “I have no focus, so I’m just taking a shot at whatever I stumble across.” Not only does knowing what you are looking for help you look more professional, but it helps you narrow down your search as well. You do not want to end up with a job that you do not like. If you just try to get anything, then there is a good chance that that is what you will be stuck with. So how do you figure out what you want?

Get an Internship

What better way to figure out what job you want than to try out one? Internships are ideal for providing you with on-the-job training. Plus, many interns are offered a permanent position within the company once they’ve graduated from college. Interns are already trained and understand the company’s inner workings, daily tasks, and business practices, which gives them a competitive edge over new hires. However, even if you don’t land a permanent position at the company, your internship experience will help your resume stand out from other applicants at future interviews.

Internships show that you have already had on-the-job training; this makes an employer more comfortable in hiring you because they have confidence in your abilities to perform. This can also give you an edge over other applicants searching for the same job.

Focus on Your Studies and Career

By taking your classes seriously and really researching your major, you can get an idea of the different jobs that are available and make yourself qualified for them. It would be embarrassing if a potential employer asked you something about your major, and you couldn’t answer it or had no idea what they were talking about. Joining major-specific clubs or groups will help you learn as well, and network.

If you have questions about different jobs that are available, you can always check in with your campus career center. It’s where you can speak with expert counselors who will offer career guidance. Getting to know the staff personally and letting them know about your career interests and goals will help you make an excellent first impression. Check in with career advisors every few weeks to show your dedication and interest, as they’ll be more likely to help with career networking. They will also help perfect your college resume and offer tips for adding leadership roles and other related campus experience.

Preparing Your Resume

Even if you are the best candidate for the job, the employer will never know if you have a horrible resume. The resume is what gets you through the door for the interview. (If you are worried about the interview then make sure to check out my previous blog about interviewing.) There are many different resume templates that can be found online and through programs. Using these will give you a good start.

Some tips offered from resume professionals are to keep it short and to just one page, if possible. Your resume should be neat and uniform, using bullet points when necessary. Most importantly, be honest about your skills and work experience. Be concise and use action words (developed, handled, organized, created, etc.) and phrases when describing your experience. Ask someone you trust to review your resume for errors and critique each section for consistency.
You have the resume and you know what you want, so where do you begin to look?

Where to Look for Jobs

The first place you should look is with contacts you’ve made at internships, apprenticeships, honor societies, campus clubs, and Greek organizations. These are people who know you and can justify your work ethic and know that you can handle the job responsibilities. If they don’t know of a specific job in your field, these contacts can provide you with networking opportunities via other alumni or sorority or fraternity members.

Take advantage of job fairs that your school has; they allow you to make new contacts and are also a great place to start. Once you have started with these, then you can move on to online job postings. Also, never forget the old fashioned way of just picking up a newspaper and searching the classified section. You may be surprised what you will find. Looking for your first job after graduation may take awhile, so don’t get discouraged easily. Take your time and look carefully, and in the end you will find the job of your dreams.

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