According to an article in USNews (Job Prospects for College Grads a Little Less Glowing), while overall unemployment is down and new jobs are being created, job prospects for are a little less promising than they were for entry-level jobs. Finding your first job after college can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Many factors impact your ability to find a job after graduation – your major, where you would like to work (as in location) and the work experience you had during college.
“When it comes to networking, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make sure people know who you are. After all, you are your biggest advocate.” Fast Company
If you are still in college, there are things you can do now that will increase your chances of landing a job once you graduate. Focus your search and you will have a better chance of landing your dream job.
If you are still in college:
If you are still in college (even if you are a Senior) there are still many things you can do to improve your chances of getting a job when you graduate. In some instances (rare, but not impossible), you might even have a job offer before you graduate.
Internships – If you haven’t done any internships during college, it’s not too late. Or maybe you did do some internships but want more experience. Either way, you can do an internship between terms or even the summer after you graduate. Leverage your college career office or use one of the many internship sites (check out 5 Steps to a Great Internship – Create Your Target Lists)
Work-study – A work-study program provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of their college education. However, the secondary (and more important) benefit is that they give you real-world experience. Even if the experience is not perfectly aligned with your major, it will still look good on your resume. Take a look at FEDERAL WORK-STUDY (FWS) PROGRAM.
College Abroad – There are many benefits to studying abroad for a semester (apart from living in another country). Many employers like candidates with an international background. Many colleges have these programs and there are also companies that specialize in finding these opportunities. Take a look at US News’ ranking – Study Abroad
If you just graduated
Okay, you’ve already graduated and now it’s time to find a job. Getting started can be difficult, but once you have a plan (see below, the rest starts to fall into place).
Job Search Plan – You can’t execute on a job search plan if you don’t have one. Don’t worry, this is not about spending all of your time creating a plan, but you do need to know how to have a job search plan. Basically, where and what you will do in your job search. Your “plan” is essential to create the lists you will need to get your job search started. Take a look at these job search planning lessons.
Network – Networking for job search is under-rated. To best leverage your network let former co-workers, friends, relatives or business associates know that you are looking for a job.
There are a number of ways you can leverage your network using some basic Networking concepts and methods.
You don’t have to have a Network of hundred’s of people to have any hope of finding a job (take a look at LinkedIn these days). While the larger your Network the better your chances, it is really the quality of your Network that will improve your job search prospects. See 6 Tips for Expanding Your Job Search Network.
Don’t make excuses, create your network list and start putting it to work. Who to include on your network list:
You’ve got your list, but what about the best practice for Networking? There are plenty of ideas out there, and most of them are good (and some of them are a bit wacky). 4 Tips for Utilizing Social Networking Outlets for Your Job Search
Resume – Super important to get your resume right. It is somewhat difficult to write your first resume after graduating from college, but my best advice is to take a look at CareerAlley’s A Simple Step by Step Guide to a Building the Perfect Resume
Research – Much information is readily available via the web (such as – is the company financially sound, do they have any workplace violations, etc.). Some information is subjective and may not be in print, but if you ask around you will get the answers you need to make your decision. You should create a list of companies where you would like to work based on your knowledge of their corporate culture, products you admire or a good fit with your career choice. Take a look at 5 Reasons Why You Need More Than a Good Resume to Stand Out from the Crowd.
Make your full-time job looking for a job and leverage the suggestions and resources listed above to land your first job after college.