You've finally got that piece of paper. You know, the one you've been working on for years: that amazing credential that's going to take you from minimum wage schlep to CEO in just a couple decades. You've got the grades. You've got the drive. Now, where can you get the experience? Here are 7 tips for new grads looking for entry-level jobs:
The degree is nice, but it's not enough. Before starting your job search in earnest, sit down and look over your resume. Have friends and family members take a look, too. You'll want to scan it for errors and make sure all your information is both valid and relevant. In addition to proofreading, you'll also want to read up on how to write a great cover letter, so when you find that perfect job listing, you'll be ready at the keys.
2. Spread the Word
When people ask how you're doing, tell them you're on the job hunt. Talk about your efforts with peers and mentors. You might discover a different perspective on your approach or a new angle for applying. You'll also feel like your job search is productive when you discuss it as a verb instead of a noun.
A lot of people talk about networking, but few people actually understand professional networking. Professional networking is a conscious effort to make business smart connections with people you know or who are in your social circles. Employ the assistance of your parents, their friends, your older friends with jobs, and anyone else you know who might have "an in" to the field or company of your dreams. Then, ask to sit down for an informational interview and get inside advice on how to apply or qualify for a position in that industry.
4. Reach Out
Don't be afraid to email the person in charge of interviewing or hiring and ask questions. Be specific about your concerns, whether it has to do with work life or benefits, it's totally cool to ask for more information before, during, and after an interview.
5. Follow Up
If you don't hear back right after an interview, wait a week and get in contact. A polite email or a short phone call is acceptable. It can go something like this, "I understand you decided to go in another direction, but I would appreciate any feedback you can offer me from my interview." If you have specific questions (like, "Was I even qualified for this position?" or "What did the hired person have that I don't?"), definitely ask. The interviewer does not have to give you any answers, but if you're polite and straightforward, you might get the constructive criticism you need to prepare better in the future.
6. Find Out More
You got the call: they want you to come in for a second round of interviews. Now is your chance to really research the company. You'll want to know what they do, who they represent, and what major accomplishments they have achieved recently. If you know someone who works for the company, now is the time to reach out and network more. Ask for their advice before you walk in for round two.
7. Seal The Deal
Before you go into a job interview, know what you hope to get out of the experience. Of course you want the job, but at what cost? Know what salary you're worth/willing to accept, know what questions you want to ask about retirement, healthcare, and other benefits, and be prepared to seal the deal and sign on the dotted line for employment. This way, you won't be caught unprepared if you get an immediate job offer. You'll be ready to accept or decline.
Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.