4 Steps to Help You Find a Job After College

Graduated and ready to land that first job? Here are some of the first steps you should take to help you find a job after college.

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find a job after college

Landing that first job out of college is thrilling. You’re ready to accept the offer, take on the world, and start building the life you’ve always dreamt of. But the process of actually finding a job? Welp, it’s truly that: a PROCESS.

 

Some lucky peeps are able to secure a full-time role after a successful summer internship, but if that’s not you, don’t worry. You just need to know where to look and what to do. Here are some steps to help you find a job after college!

 

Step 1: Figure out who you are, what you’re good at, and what kind of work you would like to do.

 

By the time you graduate from college, you might finally have a solid idea of who you are. You don’t have to have it all figured out right away, but if you can key into what makes you who you are and what makes you tick as you job hunt, you’ll be more likely to find a job after college that’s a great fit for you.

 

Consider what you’re good at during this process. Keep both hard skills and soft skills in mind—both are in demand in today’s job market.

 

Even though it’s important to have what they call “marketable skills,” you should still keep an eye toward your long-term career path. Choosing to apply to jobs that could eventually lead to the career of your dreams will help keep you motivated and excited during this process.

 

Long story short: Aim to find a job that fits who you are and what you bring, rather than squeezing yourself into the box of a job.

 

Step 2: Decide on your non-negotiables.

 

Consider more than salary as you decide what’s important to you in a job. If you hate your day-to-day work routine, no amount of money will make you happy. Other factors to think about include…

 

  • Industry
  • Type of role and responsibilities
  • City (local or requires a move)
  • Remote work or in-person work (or a hybrid)
  • Hours (standard 9-5 or something else)
  • Commute
  • Who you will report to (trust us, you want to like your boss)
  • Company culture
  • Small company or large company
  • Small team or large team
  • Health insurance
  • 401(k)
  • Stipends
  • Other perks

 

Step 3: Reach out to your network.

 

Before you hit the job boards to find a job after college, reach out to your people, AKA: the Hidden Job Market. There’s a statistic floating around that says 80% of job openings are never even advertised on job boards.

 

You don’t just have to reach out to academic connections. Sometimes, personal connections who you would least expect to turn into business connections can help you land a great job. Try reaching out to…

 

  • Immediate and extended family
  • Friends from college and high school
  • Neighbors
  • Coworkers
  • Professors
  • Fellow members of your student organizations
  • People you volunteer with
  • People you work out with
  • People you know through church or other community organizations

 

People who are a few (or more than a few) years further along in their careers than you will be happy to help you jumpstart yours. Why? They’ve been in your shoes.

 

Step 4: Conduct intentional searches and apply thoughtfully.

 

How many times have you heard stories about people who apply for 100 jobs and get no interview offers? Odds are, this person has not conducted an intentional search. In all honesty, they would have had better luck blindly selecting job postings and throwing a random, general, catch-all resume at each position. Or maybe that’s what they did!

Don’t let that be you. You can do better!

Look for postings on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, Zip Recruiter, and any other job search site that has the types of roles you are looking for. Narrow your search by position title, experience level (entry level, associate, etc.), city, industry, salary, and more, based on your must-haves.

As a rule of thumb, applying for a job should take between half an hour to an hour. That seems like a huge time investment into something that is far from a guarantee, but putting in the time is essential. During that hour, you’ll tailor your cover letter and resume to the specific position for which you are applying. Follow these guidelines:

 

  • Copy and paste the whole job description, position details and responsibilities, requirements, and preferred qualities text into a Word document.
  • Pull up your already-solid resume and cover letter.
  • Highlight the top skills, responsibilities, requirements, and qualities in the job posting (usually located at the top of each section).
  • Determine if you actually have those skills, have performed those responsibilities before, meet those requirements, and have those qualities (if you are applying for the right kinds of jobs, the answer will be yes).
  • Craft the experience and skills sections of your resume and your entire cover letter to include as many of those exact words and phrases as possible WITHOUT making it too obvious that you have pulled directly from the job description.
  • Edit for flow and proper grammar to make the whole thing subtle.

 

These steps will help you look right for the job on paper. Then, when you get called in for an interview, you’ll convince them that you would do an outstanding job while also being a joy to work with! Need more on how to do that? Check out what you need to know when interviewing here.

There you have it! It’s not easy to find a job after college, but we hope these steps provided you some guidance into what can be an overwhelming process. Someday soon, you will look back and be grateful that you put in the time to search for a job that hits all of your must-haves.

 

You’ve got this!

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