The education you’ve received up to this point ultimately leads to one place – the job search. Finding a job isn’t easy, especially if this is the first time you’re looking, but it’s also far from impossible. The key is to prioritize what’s most important to you in the process. How picky are you when it comes to location, salary, and position? Are you willing to look outside of your field of study if it means a steady paycheck? Are you willing to stay unemployed for a while if it means finding that perfect gig? Once you answer these important questions, you’ll have a starting point from which to begin finding a job that meets most (if not all) of your prioritized criteria.
To help you even further, we’ve come up with some tips below on finding a job. Although the process inevitably involves quite a bit of responsibility on your part, as you’re going to be the one who will need to do the legwork when it comes to finding suitable job prospects, these tips should help you go into the search more confidently. Take a look at what we’ve come up with below to get a sense of how you can use what you already know, what you can find out easily, and any obstacles you may need to prepare yourself for when finding a job.
If you haven’t already, start building a relationship with your college’s career counseling office. They may be plugged in to positions that never even appear on outside job boards, and may point you to opportunities you hadn’t considered before. Once you’re done there, talk to your professors and advisors, especially those who have contacts in your field of study. They may know about positions opening up at companies or organizations that haven’t yet been publicized. If you’ve had any internships or volunteer experiences while in school (as we hope you have), it’d be wise to contact those who acted as your managers. It’s often all about who you know in the job search, and even if you don’t find a position through those internship or community service leaders, those contacts may help put you in touch with others in their industry that could help you get your foot in the door.
After you’ve talked to all of your academic and professional contacts, continue asking around about job prospects among parents, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Expand your networking tree. Get on those alumni listservs as a new graduate, as job listings are routine in alumni emails and newsletters. Get yourself on a free job search service, and look at job boards related to your field of study. (It’s important to make sure you’re only looking at reputable job sites; as with your scholarship search, you shouldn’t have to pay to search for jobs.) Put yourself out there, whether that’s via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), networking events, resume posting sites, or through your own word of mouth efforts. Chances are good that at least one of the efforts above will pay off. It’s up to you, however, to make a good impression on paper and in person.
A college graduate’s first job after graduation is typically an entry level job, or a position that requires less experience than one reserved for a more seasoned professional. Although you shouldn’t just take any job that offers you a position without doing some research on the company or organization in question, you should also be realistic. It’s rare for a recent graduate to find that perfect job right off the bat and to cultivate a life-long career out of that first position. Do understand though that this job will be an important piece of your resume once you are ready to find that dream job, and the work you do there will be what your next employer will want to hear about. How you go about finding and landing that entry level job won’t differ much from the job search of an experienced worker, and you’ll probably have the best luck finding job listings through alumni listservs, reputable job search sites, and your college’s career office.
If you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, or more specifically, graduating at a time when unemployment rates are high and the state of the economy has made it difficult for not only new graduates but experienced professionals to find work, you may need to adjust your job search strategies. We’re not saying that you should jump at the first reasonable opportunity offered, but we are saying that you may need to be more open-minded. You may need to look outside the 10-mile radius that you had set for yourself initially, or be more realistic about your pay expectations. A job outside of your field of study may not be a bad idea either, as you may even find yourself expanding your skill sets or discovering a passion for a different line of work. Don’t let the state of the economy limit your job search.
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