Tips for Landing Your First Job as a College Grad

GraduationFinding your first job after college can be a daunting task. Many college grads are astounded by the minimum 3 to 5 years’ experience expected for most positions, while others find that an entry-level salary in their field won’t pay the bills. Both groups hit obstacles when long lists of job requirements aren’t met by their minimal on-the-job experiences.

How can a recent college grad find a job in their field of study that pays a living wage and helps them gain the necessary hands-on experience, yet doesn’t expect skills honed extensively beyond the classroom? While it may seem like everything is working against you, there are a few steps you can take to land the right job after college while living on a tight budget.

Beef up your resume. Knowing how to market yourself to each potential employer is just as important as your skills and qualifications. But it’s hard to create a beefy resume without any practical job experience. Senior students and recent grads can visit their school or alma mater’s career center for free resume help. College career centers regularly help students with little-to-no related job experience create impressive, job winning resumes.

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Pursue the top companies. The bigger the company, the more employees they hire on all levels. Large companies have more entry level positions to fill and are more likely to offer benefits, which can help supplement lower wages. Many large businesses and corporations intentionally recruit fresh blood and plan extensive training as part of the job. These companies invest a lot in new employees because their workers tend to stick around to move into higher positions within the company.

Two good places to start looking are through the top job search sites and government contractor reviews. The latter lists the year’s top contractors, who tend have the most hiring capacity at the entry level.

Win an internship. One advantage recent grads have upon entering the job market is that most internships are designed to help them gain practical experience in their field of study. A major disadvantage is that many internships don’t pay much or at all, and the ones that do can be highly competitive.

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Students who were awarded financial aid during college may be able to plan ahead prior to graduation to receive extra loan or grant money to help cover living expenses as they graduate and pursue an internship. Scholarships intended to help interns cover living expenses are available as well.

About Jill Schultz
Jill works from home and really is a “jack of all trades.” She loves the flexibility of her freelance career and that it gives her the opportunity to research such a wide variety of subjects. Though she tends to focus on career advice and government-related topics, she can write on just about any niche you throw her way. She is an excellent researcher and loves to put pen to paper. Follow her on twitter @JillSchultz8.

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