Although a college degree can put you ahead in life, finding a successful career is no longer a guarantee. Increased competition and cost-cutting programs are only some reasons why it’s harder to find a job after college.
The fact is that job finding is hard, and it’s even worse for new college graduates trying to break into their respective fields. However, there are several strategies you can employ to increase your odds of success during your career search. The more you take advantage of, the luckier you’ll be.
Follow these 7 tips and learn how to find a job after college without losing your sanity.
1. Specialize Your Resume
Since many job seekers swarm a limited number of positions, hiring managers use applicant tracking systems to thin the herd before they even look at a resume. Want your resume to make the cut? You’ll need to tailor your resume to every single position before applying.
What does tailoring mean? Read the expected skills and experience of the job posting and incorporate those exact phrases in your resume. The tracking system will determine you’re qualified enough to get some attention from a real person.
Even if you have limited experience, you can reword your existing knowledge to better fit the responsibilities found within the job post.
2. Tap Your Network
A network sounds like an intimidating resource used only by real professionals. Well, guess what? You’re a professional, and as a college student, you do have a network — even if you don’t know it.
Many of your professors, adjunct or not, have connections with businesses and other industry professionals. During your last semester on campus, connect with some of your favorite professors and discuss possible job opportunities or other openings. They may have insider connections that can give your job search a significant boost.
3. Visit the Career Center
Every college has a career center with plenty of helpful job resources. Career advisors can discuss potential job opportunities related to your major if you’re still undecided. Plus, they tend to offer help with resume building and interviews — both of which are essential skills to landing a job.
Generally, once a semester, a career center will run an on-campus job fair. If yours doesn’t, you can still find occasional recruitment events or industry meetings to help you build your network and get your foot in the door.
4. Create a LinkedIn
LinkedIn is basically the Facebook or Twitter of the professional world. It’s here you’ll create a sort of online resume showcasing your experience, skills, and projects. But why bother with LinkedIn?
The website helps you build a network by connecting you with coworkers, peers, and college groups. We’ve already outlined the importance of a network, so why not let LinkedIn do most of the work for you?
And when it comes to applications, many companies have LinkedIn integration. Rather than attaching your resume, you simply link to your LinkedIn account. This social media platform is often more informative and shows recruiters you’re a serious professional.
5. Develop a Personal Project
Sometimes taking the initiative with a personal project can have recruiters flocking to you. The project will be worthwhile even if it’s not a massive success.
Will you be the only person to ever see the fruits of your labor? It’s still a great way to beef up your portfolio and showcase your practical skills.
Undertake a project relevant to your degree. For example, a computer science major might create hybrid web apps. Even a marketer could compose a marketing plan — preferably for a company they’re applying to.
The point is that you develop something that tells recruiters you know your stuff. That helps you surpass the hurdle of the inexperienced college graduate stereotype.
6. Keep Applying
Even if you have a STEM (science, technology, engineering or maths) degree, finding a job is a numbers game. You’re going to apply to countless companies and undergo dozens of interviews before you get lucky. But the more applications you fire off, the luckier you’ll get.
Don’t get disheartened. Make it a habit of checking new job postings at the same time every day. Don’t hesitate to apply if you see a position you think you’re even slightly qualified for.
Let the recruiters decide if you’re not a good fit for the company. Don’t do the work for them. Otherwise, you could miss out on plenty of opportunities and drastically prolong your job search.
7. Snag an Internship
Need more work experience or desperately want to work for a certain employer? Seek out an internship program. Not only will you gain valuable on-the-job experience, but many employers will hire interns who catch their attention.
It’s best to seek out internship programs during your final two years of college courses. But there’s nothing wrong with becoming an intern when you graduate, either. Unfortunately, many internship programs don’t include a salary or even a stipend, so it’s not likely a viable option should you need a consistent income.
Even though most positions are unpaid, becoming an intern can be just as challenging as getting a real job. Treat an intern application and interviews with the same level of professionalism.
How to Find a Job After College
The days of landing a job right after college are long gone. A college degree isn’t a free ticket to financial success but merely one part of the greater whole. You’ll need to prepare yourself for a lengthy job search and preferably start to line something up before graduation during your final semester.
Now that you know how to find a job after college, you’ll only need the persistence to see your career search through. The perfect job could be one more application away.
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