Graduation is an exciting time. It’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. As I prepare for graduation from my Master’s program, I am reminded of the job seeking skills I learned after college. Making the transition from student to new hire can be stressful and recent labor statistics may seem daunting, but if you are well prepared, landing that perfect first job can be easier than you think.
- Network.As a recent grad with little or no experience, remember the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking can lead to new connections and new opportunities. There are networking events in many different fields and sites such as Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com can help you find them. Also, make use of your social networks online as well, by following and engaging with influencers in your field. Build that professional network.
- Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and meet new contacts and is great for the community as well! Any kind of volunteering is great and there are opportunities in almost every field. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to be a shadow at their work, even if the field isn’t quite what you had in mind. Being a volunteer is a great way to be able to attend expensive but important conferences and events, and to practice your networking skills
- Consider relocation. Ever wanted to experience a new city or country? Job hunting right out of school can be the perfect time to consider that large move. Perhaps there are not enough opportunities in your home-town or maybe you are just looking for more of an adventure. Either way, it’s always a good idea to broaden your search and consider new geographical areas.
- Craft your online image. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter make it easy and fast to stay connected and share with your friends and family. However, it is important to make sure that the image you present online is one that you would be comfortable showing to a potential employer. According to a survey by Reppler.com, more than 90% of employers will check out a candidate’s social networking pages and 68% have hired someone based on their social media profiles. Having an online presence is important, but make sure you take steps to present yourself in the best possible light, including being mindful of pictures and comments that other people may tag you in. Candidates should Google themselves to see what comes up when potential employers search for you. To make your professional accounts stand out, make sure your LinkedIn account is fully up to date, post some industry knowledge and even consider starting a blog about your field or industry.
- Do your homework. You thought you were done forever with homework? Nope. Finding that perfect job requires time and preparation. Blindly sending carbon copies of your resume to every open position is not the way to get noticed. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific job. Check out the company’s website to gain insight on their core values and mission. Make sure to check out the company’s career page to view open jobs. Stay informed about target companies and your industry by setting up Google Reader alerts for relevant news topics. The more informed you are, the better you will look and sound when responding to interview questions.
- Follow up. A lot of companies nowadays receive hundreds of responses for one job post and may state that you should not contact them about the job. However, if you do receive an interview (phone or in person) it is always a best practice to follow up. Write a thank you letter or quick email after the interview expressing your continued interest in the position. This may seem a bit old fashioned, but it will help the interviewer remember you and will make you stand out amongst the other candidates.
Remember that the job should fit you just as much as you fit the job description. Following these tips can help ease the stress and better prepare you for the job search.
Brandi Cole is the new social media intern at SmartRecruiters. She is finishing her Master’s of Digital Marketing at Hult International Business School and is a social media lover, tech nerd, political junkie and networker bee. Photo credit Adobemac