• Graduation is Looming: 7 Tips to Begin the Job Hunt

    April 02, 2014 by
    Close up of smiling female college graduate holding her certificate

    Close up of smiling female college graduate holding her certificate. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Walking across the stage and earning your college degree is quite the accomplishment, considering 66.5 percent of Americans ages 25 to 29 don’t have a college education. But just as you shake the dean’s hand and walk off stage, you enter a new world that’ll present you with rewarding opportunities and tough challenges — the workforce. Although the national unemployment rate has dropped from its high in 2009 of 10 percent to today’s 6.7 percent, finding a job isn’t as easy as studying for a final the night before and passing it.

    With that said, here are seven tips to help you begin your job hunt on the right foot.

    Take Advantage of Your College’s Career Center

    Many students overlook the benefits they can receive if they pay a visit to their college’s career center. After all, the purpose of the career center is to, well,  help you find a career. One of the biggest benefits of visiting this center is that you’ll get the opportunity to speak with a career counselor that can help you develop solid strategies and point you in the right direction. Using the tools you already have access to will help you be more productive and efficient.

    Refine Your Resume and Customize Your Cover Letter

    This may sound like common sense, but many students don’t put enough time and effort into making sure their cover letters and resumes are as polished as they can be. Your resume should include the most updated and compelling information you can present potential employees. Every cover letter you write should be customized for each position you apply for. When in doubt, take these documents to a career center so someone can look over them.

    Create a Profile on a Professional Networking Site like LinkedIn

    With more than 260 million professionals using LinkedIn each day to post job ads or apply for them, creating an account to expand your network is a wise decision. About 77 percent of all job openings are posted on LinkedIn, making it the perfect place to go if you want to use a centralized website to find a position that suits your skills. Not only can you apply for jobs on the site, but you can connect with other professionals who can help you out.

    Talk With Your Family and Friends

    Speaking of networking, you shouldn’t overlook the people you immediately know: your family and your friends. Your family members have already likely cemented their positions at various organizations and might know someone who can help you find a job (at least for the time being). In addition, friends also looking for work can give you some hints as to which companies are hiring (in exchange for your information, of course).

    Complete At Least One Internship before Graduating

    Doing two internships before graduating college is optimal, but you should at least complete at least one before walking across the stage and entering the workforce. Some professions, like journalism, prefer that you complete internships during college. Not only does completing an internship provide you with some experience in the industry, but it also expands your network, which could lead to a lucrative job offer in the future.

    Consider Working with a Temp Agency in the Meantime

    Once you’ve graduated, you’ll want to get a job as soon as possible so the bills and debts don’t pile up. Although an interim job will help with that, working with a temp agency can help you solidify a permanent position with a company if you work hard enough and leave a lasting impression. Once you’re inside an organization, meet as many people as possible within the industry that could help out find your next position (if you don’t stay there).

    Don’t Take the Summer Off

    As tempting as it might be to lounge around at your parents’ house once you’ve graduated, it’s important to use your time off after school to look for work. Looking for a job should become your full-time job. The less time you spend procrastinating after graduation, the easier it’ll be to secure a position that suits your skills. Use all of the skills mentioned above and you’ll be working in no time.

    The more you prepare for a job hunt while in college, the better off you’ll be once you graduate and start your career.

    Author Bio: Joe Fortunato is a professional writer based out of Tampa, FL. As an avid tech fanatic, Joe is constantly on the lookout for new things that will help him enjoy his hobbies: playing golf, brass instruments, cooking ethnic foods, and bass fishing. To find more of Joe’s published work, check out his Twitter profile, @joey_fort.

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