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Employment After College

Employment after college requires much more than personal motivation and a college degree. In fact, finding a job may feel like a job in itself, with applications to fill out, searches to sift through, and references to collect. Fortunately, there is much you can independently do to improve your chances of finding a job that will not only pay the bills, but will feel more enjoyable than tedious. Your follow-through and effort will be necessary to begin the job search, and in landing that first interview. Browse through this section for tips on things you should do to prepare yourself for not only the job search process, but what you should expect on the job as a recent graduate.

Getting Started

Chances are, you will not even receive an initial interview without a resume. Begin looking as soon as possible, even before you walk across the stage at graduation. Building a resume in college is easier when you have a good idea of what you want to be doing after college, especially when you do not anticipate changing your field of study. Befriend your college career counselors, faculty, and staff who may have tips to share on internships and volunteer experiences. If you do not anticipate to survive off unpaid gigs, consider part, or even full-time work while still in school. This will give you some leadership and problem-solving experience- two things that will certainly come up in a job interview.

Already finished with school? Worry not. There is much you can do to improve your chances of landing a great job. The beginning phases are crucial. Put yourself out there, whether it’s through job search engines, word of mouth, or alumni. Sometimes it is all about who you know, but it’s also about the effort you put into the process. For even more information, check out what we’ve come up with as far as tips on finding those elusive jobs and applying to them in this employment after college section.

Where to Apply

Where you apply, and the jobs you choose to focus your energy on will depend on your personal priorities and ambitions. Are you looking for a job that may not be ideal, but comes with the salary and benefits that will help you get on your feet? Would you rather wait and hold out for a job you know will be challenging and beneficial to your career? Carve out time to consider your goals in the job search process, rather than applying to every opportunity offered. You don’t want to burn any bridges by applying to a job you have little interest in, and then rescinding your application once you’ve had some time to think about it. It’s not too difficult to apply for jobs, but it does take some time to figure out exactly what is that you want to do with your life after college.

At the Job

The hardest part is not over just because you aced your interview and get that job offer. In fact, it’s just beginning. You’ll now be expected to deliver on those promises suggested by your resume and interview, and to act like the young professional you are. It’s normal to be nervous about the first day — even the first few weeks — at a new job, especially if this is your first foray into the "real world" of full-time employment. But there’s also a lot you can do to prepare for that first real job out of college. Walk into your new office confident and ready for the tasks your new employer has for you. For more tips, check out what we’ve come up with on how you can prepare for your first job out of college.

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Last Reviewed: February 2020