5 Tips for Landing Your First Job after College

Finding 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.

Suggested Reading: The College Graduate Job Search Process Decoded: A Concise Guide by a College Recruiter

Revise Your Resume: 5 Steps to a Great Resume

Knowing how to market yourself to each potential employer is just as important as ensuring your skills and qualifications are included on your resume. 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. If you are a Junior or Senior, it’s not too late to do a summer internship (which will add tremendous value to your resume).  As a Senior, unless you already have a job offer lined up, can do an internship the summer following their graduation.

Company Research and Career Sites: 5 Reasons to use Company Career Sites

Many job seekers fail to leverage company career sites.  Many larger companies also have a career site dedicated to college grads.  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 (see Working in Government Jobs).

Leverage Your Internship: Finding Internships that Lead to Permanent Placement

As mentioned above, one advantage recent grads have upon entering the job market is that most summer 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. Accepting a full-time internship after graduation is a consideration (if you don’t land a paying job).

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.

Additional Resources:

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,


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