7 Tips to Help You Find Your First Job
Landing your first full-time job after college should be a breeze with these simple job hunting tips:
1. Seek help from your school
If there is one place you should start looking for a job after graduation, that would be your school’s career center. A career advisor can help you sort things out and take a look at your options. With their help, you can start crafting resumes, cover letters, job search plans, and practice interviews.
Also, colleges and universities may sometimes host job fairs within the campus. They invite individual recruiters, and provide directories of recruitment events in specified areas. Alumni events are also a great way to meet and expand your network with successful alumni. They might be looking to hire someone for their business or absorb someone for the company they are working with.
According to an article published in LinkedIn by Lou Adler, a whopping 85% of jobs are filled in through networking. Networking is a powerful way to find a job. That is because it connects you to potential employers and coworkers at a deeper and more personal level compared to online or paper applications alone.
So how do you go about networking to find a job? The most appropriate way is usually to reach out to inquire for information or career-related advice. This is as opposed to asking someone upfront to hire you, which may be too blunt and off-putting for many. Reach out to as many professionals you know -former professors, coaches, summer-job employers, and other people who have an idea of your skills and capabilities. Attend events where you can establish rapport and develop some relationships with professionals such as alumni.
Aside from reaching out, seeking referrals, and attending events, you can also network by joining professional organizations that are related to the career field you are interested in. Your school might have several organizations that specialize in specific fields. Those groups may have alumni members who tap into those particular organizations whenever they require potential new hires.
3. Create a LinkedIn Profile
A LinkedIn Profile is like an online extension of your networking efforts where you establish and grow connections with businesses and potential employers. It also doubles as a stage where you can showcase your skills and credentials. With it you can build a personal brand, and apply for jobs at the same time.
The great thing about building a LinkedIn profile is that you don’t need work experience to accomplish one. You can even start building your profile while you are still at school. Showcase your academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, internships, and volunteer projects. Give onlookers an idea of who you are and what capabilities you have.
4. Prepare an elevator pitch
If you’ve ever seen an interview session on TV, the inevitable question of “tell me about yourself” almost always pops out. For many, it is such a dreaded and unfortunate question that leaves many scrambling for the perfect answer. Do you focus on your traits? Your accomplishment? Your personal interests? Where do you even begin?
Having a ready answer for this type of question not only prepares you for formal job interviews. It also prepares you to have the right amount of self-confidence for all of your networking events. Use it when you come face-to-face with professionals who want to know about you.
Make a mental list of your most prominent interests and your most reliable skills, as well as your most significant accomplishments. Make three to four sentences out of it. It should be catchy enough to capture and retain the listener’s interest. At the same time it should also be informative and rich enough to give them a good idea of your strengths with a brief glimpse of your personality.
5. List down your favorite companies
Luckily, job hunting is not as tedious as before. Nowadays, job search websites take off much of the load of the job hunting and application process, so now all you need to do is to find companies you like to work for. Once you have identified who you want to work for, you can directly visit their websites’ employment or careers page. There, you can look for student or graduate job opportunities.
To give you a boost in this step, you can try contacting alumni who may be affiliated with the companies who are hiring. Ask them for advice on how to go about the application process or career opportunities in their company. LinkedIn’s alumni function can help you with this, or your school’s career center may have some ready information.
6. Organize your job search
The thing about job hunting is that you are accountable for no one but yourself. You don’t have a boss yet or a professor anymore who is giving your deadlines or prodding you to finish tasks period after period. It is easy to fall into an unproductive trap if you end up procrastinating at every opportunity you get.
To address this, it would be helpful to rewire your mentality for success and treat your job hunting as if it were an actual job. Carve out a weekly schedule that you dedicate to job hunting while you are at school, and make more time for it once you have graduated. Make sure to stick to your schedule as if it were a commitment that you had to fulfill. Otherwise, you might just keep putting it off until you realize that a lot of time had gone by with you just stalling, and all the jobs you would have wanted had already been taken.
7. Participate in Internships
Internships are temporary work experience offered by companies. They can either be paid or unpaid and may admit either college graduates or college students past a specific year level. An internship is an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills and talents while earning valuable work experience and learning.
A good chunk of interns eventually gets absorbed by the companies they are working for, but even if the served time does not end in a job offer, you can still use your work experience as an intern for your future applications. On top of that, after the experience, you would have already gained valuable on-the-job skills and knowledge that you would otherwise not know in a theory setting.