If you’ve just graduated college, you may not be prepared for the cold, harsh reality that adulting is hard. The real world can be discouraging, and in our current political climate, it can be downright depressing. But no matter how much rejection you face, you still have to pull up your big girl (or boy) shorts and take action. You have to find a job.
You have to strategize to find the job you want. You can’t just fill out a bunch of online applications and assume you’re going to find a job. You might just out of sheer chance, but when you leave your career to chance, you usually end up in a crappy job you hate. There are better ways.
1. Visit Your College’s Career Advisors
Most colleges have an office dedicated to helping students and alumni find jobs. It might be called a “career center” or “alumni services.” If you’re not sure where to find it, ask the receptionist at your former school.
It’s in your former college’s best interest to help you find a job because the US Department of Education keeps track of information regarding how many graduates have jobs, both in and out of their degree industry. Your employability should be a priority to your former college, because if you have their shiny degree and can’t get a job, they look bad.
Your college’s career advisors usually have a list of employers looking to hire graduates. Some advisors can help with your resume and cover letter too, but in our experience, their advice is usually outdated on those particular topics. Some career offices have a closet of professional attire for interviews—just ask!
2. Don’t Take a Gap Year Before Getting a Job
As you’re leaving school or college, your focus should be on getting a job. Taking a “gap year” before getting a job is an immature idea that won’t impress employers. You (or your parents) have spent a lot of money on your college education. The least you can do is put your degree to work. Be a grownup and get a job.
When your job search isn’t going your way, it can be tempting to just give up. Unfortunately, life doesn’t let you just give up. You have to find a job, so don’t stop trying until you have one!
3. Find a Coach
If you’re waiting for the job fairy to show up and hand you your first job, it’s time you find a career coach. If you’re stuck in your career in any way, a career coach can help you set goals and clearly see the steps to reaching them. Jarell and I offer career-coaching services via phone, online, and even in person if you live in the Orlando or Tampa area.
4. Redo Your Resume
One of the easiest things you can do to make meaningful change in your job search is to do something different with your resume. Improve your action verbs. Ditch your objective. Create a professional profile. Add skills. Change the format. Make a video resume. Keep playing with it until you find a winner!
Remember that you should alter your resume for each job advertisement you answer. Look for keywords and key skills that the employer wants and make sure your resume includes them.
5. Do Something to Gain Experience While You’re Looking for a Job
f you didn’t intern while in college, your lack of experience may be holding you back from finding a job. That doesn’t mean you stop looking for a job, but it does mean you should do something to fill that experience gap.
The first thing you should consider is taking an externship or fellowship, but if you can’t find one of those, volunteer. Find a company you admire, and offer to work for free. The worst they can say is “no.”
You can also start a side hustle. Employers will be impressed at your entrepreneurial spirit, and your parents will be impressed that you’re making money all on your own. Running your own side business gives you skills that you can take into any job field; plus, it gives you something to talk about in your cover letters and interviews.
Check out the Transitioning from College to Career: A Guide for New Grads for great tips and advice for finding a job, acing interviews, and figuring out life in general after college.
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- 10 Ways to Build your Resume this Summer
- 4 Things You Should Do After You Graduate College
No matter what, don’t give up on your job search. Keep looking for new ideas. Connect with as many people as you can both on LinkedIN and in person. Go to job fairs. Talk to recruiters. Network with your classmates and former professors. If you don’t have a job, your job is finding a job so get to it!