10 Tips To Finding A Job After College!

10 Tips To Finding A Job After College!

By: Krissy Fausnaugh - Posted in:
Friend graduates finding jobs after college

Since the $1.4 trillion student loan debt crisis is a major burden on graduates, it has never been more important to make yourself marketable for job opportunities after graduating college. With 44 million Americans trying to pay back a mixture of private student loans and federal student loans, competition in the job market is steep as grads fight for positions to combat their looming debt. Making yourself as marketable as possible is the key to landing a job, lessening your college graduate debt-to-income ratio, and moving forward successfully in the next phase of life.

10 Ways To Get A Job RIGHT After College!

Maintain a high GPA
Group of students maintaining a high GPA

1. Maintain a High GPA and Join Extracurricular Activities

Working on marketability before graduation is the best way to set yourself up for success. Be sure to concentrate on maintaining a high GPA and get involved in extracurricular activities. These are powerful ways to create a strong resume and separate yourself from other applicants. 

Extracurricular activities will help provide many of the life experiences and skills that employers are looking for. For example, founding a club can show initiative and innovation. Becoming involved in student government or the leadership team of a campus group demonstrates management and leadership skills that entice employers. Likewise, a high GPA and Deans List distinction will be impressive and help you stand out.

If you’re nearing graduation without amazing grades and a long record of extracurricular activities- don’t stop here. You must simply do more to make yourself stand out than a candidate with stronger on-paper credentials. Show your tenacity by landing a great internship and doing way more than is asked of you.

Get an internship
Students working at an internship

2. Land an Internship

Landing an internship in your field during college is the perfect way to gain industry-specific experience that shines on a resume. Your resume will automatically pull ahead of others without the same type of experience. By committing to school and an internship, potential employers will be shown your motivation and commitment level. The more respectable an internship (due to responsibilities or the company you worked for), the more marketable you become.

As a bonus, if you end up applying for a job with the company you interned with, you have created a major advantage. Already knowing the stakeholders, culture, internal document management systems, programs, and processes, your experience makes it easier for an employer to imagine you in a new role with the company and hire you on full-time. If you can gain a reference through the internship, that is even more powerful.

For those of you who wish you could do your internship process over, but can’t, it’s time to get creative. Write down a list of the ten most influential people or companies in your area (relevant to your industry). Then, send a handwritten letter, an email, call, and show up in person offering your services for free. Personalize the letter and let them know the respect and admiration you have for their accomplishments. Ask them what you can do to make their day easier and briefly explain your skillset and ambition. 

Choosing a major
Students choosing a major

3. Select Your Major(s) Carefully

Selecting a college major and future life path is no small task, but it is worth your time to research jobs that are currently in demand, as well as which are forecasted to have a deficit of workers that needs to be filled in the future. This may guide your choice of major, give you information on which field of study to specialize in, or help you decide which double major to add that widens your job opportunities.

Selecting a major that has a high job placement rate- or choosing a program that aids with placement after graduation- can also help your overall marketability.

If you’re nearing graduation and recently discovered the major isn’t future-proof ask yourself this question: Do I absolutely, obsessively love this career?

If the answer is yes, proceed the career with a passion and intensity that none of your colleagues could match. Never allow societal standards to dampen your passion!

If the answer is no, fearlessly pivot and never look back. SELF-EDUCATE if you need to and make up for lost time. 

Informational Interviews
Students going on informational interviews

4. Go on Informational Interviews 

You can never have too much information. Sending requests to individuals in your future field for informational interviews can be a game changer in figuring out what employers are looking for and then responding to those needs in resumes and cover letters. As you pay attention in your informational interviews, you can gain a sense of the experiences you need to carve out for yourself before graduation.

If you know the companies you would like to eventually apply to, strategically set up informational interviews with the people responsible for hiring. They will remember your initiative and drive when the time comes to read your application.

While in informational interviews, spend less time asking questions that benefit you, and ask more questions about the company’s needs. Write a list of ten questions with the intention of figuring out current problems they experience and the qualities their best employees possess. 

Thoughtful References
Creating Thoughtful References

5. Be Purposeful in Creating References

Recommendations and accolades are often what makes the difference between hiring and overlooking an applicant. When you start an internship or job during your college years, remember to do the type of work that will result in a great recommendation. Be purposeful in networking and building connections with high-level coworkers who can vouch for you during the application process. This type of word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best.

An easy way to get noticed is to simply outwork everyone! Be a task-execution machine and move at a faster pace than your peers when you’re simply walking to the bathroom. Lock in with unrivaled intensity and focus while completing tasks others procrastinate. Arrive early and begin working off the clock until told otherwise. Stay late until they kick you out. Ask your supervisor what other tasks you can take on to make their day easier.

Spin Your Experiences
Student spinning their experiences on resumes

6. Spin Your Experiences

All is not lost if you have already graduated or are running out of time and did not follow the above suggestions. It means that it is time to get creative and fill in a few missing pieces. You can do this by taking time to examine your past college experiences and creating a list of everything you accomplished. Think about how you can spin these experiences to make you look like an attractive candidate, such as pointing out transferable skills.

Tell a personal story with an attention-grabbing introduction. 

EX: “Mr./Mrs. _______, if you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you a short story  about a life-changing experience I has that will tell you far more about my character and capability than anything on that piece of paper. Is that okay with you? 

….then deliver the story with passion, intensity, and confidence. Finish by tying it in to how you will leverage that experience to help the company accomplish its goals.

Network With Professional Friends
Group of professional friends networking

7. Join a Group for Young Professionals

Meetup, Facebook, and Google create hundreds of opportunities to collaborate your young professionals. While useful for shaking hands and learning about new opportunities, involvement will also show employers that you take your career and its future seriously. 

Also, being amongst future colleagues allows you to measure yourself in comparison. Prepare for these meet-ups feverishly. Write an elevator pitch explaining your background and ambition and practice naturally delivering it without sounding practiced. Come prepared with a business card and commit to adding a minimum of five quality contacts to your network. Try to ensure you get that follow on the spot! 

Investing In Professional Development
Student investing in developing new skills

8. Invest in Professional Development

Attending conferences to invest in your professional development through continued education and specialization will also increase your marketability. Mentioning this in a cover letter or resume is another way to influence employers in your favor. If the price of attending conferences is too high, attend free webinars or listen to podcasts that apply to your desired industry. This can go a long way in showing employers that you are trying to stay at the top of your field and are aware of new trends.

Self-educate to the tenth degree! Read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill to prepare your mind for success. Take a sales course to improve your communication ability. No matter what career you are in, wealth consciousness and the ability to engage and persuade others are both necessary for massive success.

Tailored Resume
Student fine tuning their resume

9. Fine-Tune Your Resume, Cover Letters, and LinkedIn

The cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile are often the first and only information an employer has about you until an in-person interview. They are your chance to make a great first impression and pull ahead of the competition to land an interview. Keep all three up-to-date when you have a change in responsibility or position.

Each employer looks for something slightly different when reviewing applications. If they are replacing a previous employee’s position, they may look for signs that you are a committed person with long-term employment potential. If they are in the middle of a workplace culture initiative, they may look for signs of group engagement and high levels of collaboration. 

To pinpoint the employer’s hot buttons, read the job posting carefully. Analyze it for what seems to be the most important points to the company, as well as the requirements for applying. Then, craft your cover letter and resume to highlight those items. Rather than sending out the same cover letter and resume for each position you apply for, tailor your resume and cover letter specific to the company you’re applying for. The extra effort is worth it!

Building Your Skills
Student building their professional skills

10. Keep Building Skills and Applying

No matter where you are in the job application process, keep building skills to make yourself more marketable and apply for your dream jobs. Remember that even small experiences can translate into skills and that the most important thing is to put the work in now so you can land the job you want.

As you apply, you will learn lessons to incorporate along your employment journey. Put into practice the lessons you learned today to set yourself up for financial and employment success in the future. With your hard work, you will be paying off student loans in no time and increasing your chances of moving up the ladder quicker. 

What is one thing from this post that you can improve on? Let us know in the comments and then take a step towards it today.

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