Not every student is lucky enough to land his or her first job prior to graduation. In fact, most are not, so don’t despair if graduation is coming up (or come and gone) and you’re just formalizing your strategy for getting your first job.
Get Out There!
Every networking opportunity, recruitment event, and job interview is a chance to get your name out for college graduate jobs, and each gives you excellent learning experience as well.
Take the Interview – Whether it’s a position you don’t think you’ll get, or even one you’re not sure you really want, schedule the interview anyway. It’ll be good practice, and who knows, it may be a great job for which you’re a perfect fit.
Attend Events – Every job fair or networking event is an opportunity to learn more about corporate recruitment practices. By attending, you’re acclimating yourself to the employment market and learning to effectively communicate with recruiters and other professionals.
Network – Every event is also a networking opportunity. Even if you come out the other side with only one good connection, that’s one more than you had before.
Keep an Open Mind
While you may have a dream job in mind, an entry-level job search probably won’t land you that coveted position. Remember, your first job is a stepping-stone in your career development.
Apply, Apply, Apply! – Don’t pass over an opportunity because you think it’s not the perfect fit. It’s hard to tell from just a job posting or ad, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the job hunt. So send out those resumes, even if the position isn’t a “perfect” fit for you. You may wind up actually having some of the skills the hiring manager is looking for.
Interviews Go Both Ways – Keep in mind that you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. Take the interview, even if you are uncertain about the job or the company. It’s your chance to learn more and see if the role may be right after all.
Happy Accidents – Entry-level job searches result in happy accidents all the time. For example, sometimes when interviewing for one job you find out that the company has another position that's perfect for you. You may stumble across the ideal opportunity to get your career rolling, but only if you keep an open mind and take advantage of the opportunities with which you’re presented.
Preparation is the key to success in finding college graduate jobs. Honing your interviewing skills, having your resume tweaked, and keeping your wardrobe pressed are just a few of the preparation steps you’ll need to undertake.
References! – Ensure you have professional references listed on your resume that you can count on to give you a winning recommendation in a timely manner. Professors, former supervisors from internships and part-time jobs, and volunteer service directors make excellent references in an entry-level job search.
Do Your Research – Put in some research time before you meet with the recruiter or hiring manager. Learn about the company and its business focus, values, goals, and competitors. These details will help you perform better when interviewing and will help you devise questions to ask of the interviewer as well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – Interviewers expect you to have questions for them, so come to every interview with a few inquiries on different aspects of the business itself, as well as some on more personal, employment-related details.