The day all college students work hard for is quickly approaching for some like myself. Between hustling and bustling through the last few classes you have, signing graduation forms, and ordering the cap and gown, this big moment in your life just passes by and leaves you with one mission…to find a job.
In this economy, jobs are still hard to find, but not impossible for a recent college grad. There’s a lot you can do to simplify the job hunt and make yourself stand out as a candidate for the job. I’ll be sharing with you some tips and ideas that will help you stand out when on the job hunt.
Don’t wait – begin your search right after you graduate.
I don’t mean literally beginning your search right after you graduate. Take the time to celebrate a great accomplishment in your life and then switch the focus to finding your ideal job.
Create great résumés with all of your work experience, yes, even the one at McDonald’s. Jobs like those teach valuable customer service and multitasking skills, two great skills that many professions require. Be sure to also create a cover letter. Don’t forget to follow-up on the application a week or two after applying!
(Note: When creating a cover letter and résumé make sure to have them all tailored to the specific position you are applying for. DO NOT send out a general copy to every position you apply for.)
Check out some example résumés for any industry here. Click here for some cover letter examples.
If you’re the tech-savvy or artsy type, create a professional Web site! Creating a Web site for yourself is a great way to express yourself, makes it look like you keep yourself busy, and makes it easy for job hirers to get to know more about you…and it isn’t expensive! Domain names for your Web site are very cheap and easy to find with a quick search. There are also Web site builders online such as www.wix.com that make creating a Web site seamless, and the best part is that they are FREE. Some Web site builders include a domain name with their “build-your-own-Web-site” service (www.1and1.com) for a great price.
On your Web site, you can display any of your professional work, an online résumé, some video content, and an “About Me” page. If you’re a writer, you may want to include a blog section on your Web site or create your own blog on www.wordpress.com.
Be sure to create a professional e-mail address, of which you can create for free on either Google, Yahoo, etc. Make sure your voicemail message is professional, too.
Create professional social media accounts and make sure that there aren’t pictures of you from Spring Break three years ago. LinkedIn is a great social media platform that allows you to follow and network with leaders.
Attend networking events, whether they are at your college campus or in your town. Create business cards for these events that include your social media pages, Web site, and of course, contact information.
Having a hard time networking? Try contacting any of your past internships or jobs and see if there are any places they can lead you to start networking. Don’t be afraid to use your college career center also; it’s what they are there for!
Time For The Interview
Once you get the e-mail or phone call back with the good news after applying for a position it’s time to prepare for the interview!
“Practice makes perfect.” We all know that. But it is essential when preparing for the big moment that is the interview. You should practice some common interview questions found here. Be honest in your responses and make them concise! Be calm, cool, and collected when on the interview and you will do well!
While you practice, you also want to educate yourself on the company. Browse their Web site, social media pages, online news, and online videos. Be sure to familiarize with some of the notable people at the company through their Web site.
Pick out yourself a nice professional looking outfit. Also bring a portfolio of any work you may have, especially your best. Your self-presentation is very important; you’ll need to make yourself a memorable candidate for the employer.
Finally, you’ll want to think of some questions of your own to ask the interviewer. Questions that came to mind while you were researching the company applied for, or just specific questions about the job at hand. Click here for some example questions.
Alright…now that that’s over, it’s time to reinforce your candidacy for the position. To do this you should send a follow-up e-mail once you get home from the interview. You should thank the interviewer for his/her time and tie what was discussed into something that you can bring as a benefit to the company. Use this example as a guide to the follow-up e-mail.
Follow-up on the e-mail (if you didn’t receive a response) with a phone call a week or two later to check on the status of the position. If you are persistent, yet patient in your efforts, employers may decide on you as the right candidate. So… be patient, it takes time…decisions like these aren’t made in an instant.
“I didn’t get the job.”
If you did get the job, congratulations! (But if you didn’t) Unfortunately, sometimes it may not work out the way you want it to. But that’s okay. While on the job hunt, you should be sending out various applications for positions elsewhere instead of hoping on one to hire you. Take this moment to ask for some feedback and reflect on it. Never give up!
If you don’t have much experience in the industry you are entering, try looking for some internship opportunities. Just because you are a college grad does not mean you can’t apply for internships. Internships are a great way to get your feet wet and may even land you a full-time job if the company is interested in you. There are even internships that give you a short spell as an intern and hire you upon completion of the program.
My name is Daniel Jacinto, I’m a senior at Kean University (Ocean Campus). I’ll be graduating Spring 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. To see my own professional website check out my website by clicking here built using www.wix.com.