Tips for Recent College Graduates Entering the Workforce

Posted July 01, 2014 by
Group of smiling graduates

Group of smiling graduates. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Now that graduation has come and gone, it is time for recent college graduates to look for jobs.  With stiff competition for employment opportunities, the challenge for graduates is to stand out from the crowd.  So how can they do this?

Here are five tips from Christy Palfy, a recruiting manager from Progressive Insurance.

  • Network. Networking is the most effective job search strategy. Reach out to friends and family, keep in contact with your professors or advisors and ask them about possible referrals or leads. Don’t be afraid to ask a faculty member for a recommendation, especially if you worked closely with him/her. Attend alumni networking events in your city of residence, as well as the location where you would like to land your first job.
  • Utilize social media to your advantage. Social media isn’t just about posting photos of you and your and friends at the beach. It’s a great tool for putting yourself out there during the job search. Develop a complete LinkedIn profile, join your alumni group and other groups in your desired field and participate in group discussions to show your skills and expertise.  Ask previous employers/advisors to write a recommendation. Facebook also has a “Work and Education” section so be sure to fill that out with any relevant information. For Twitter, include relevant work history in your blurb so employers can easily identify you and your work interests and/or internships.
  • Expand your horizons.  As a college graduate, you likely aren’t bound to a specific city or region yet, so consider looking outside of the usual suspects. For example, if you’re looking for a job as a software developer, don’t just limit your search to high profile tech companies where the competition is fierce. Consider working for a company in a different industry, but still allows you to thrive in your field. For example, Progressive Insurance, based in Cleveland, has an award-winning CIO and IT department with a wide variety of IT opportunities including software developers, system test engineers and architects.
  • Toot your own horn. Just because you have minimal work experience doesn’t mean you don’t have experiences that are worthy of sharing. Highlight your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, internships and of course, any past jobs. Employers don’t expect you to have an extensive career history, so be sure to show them other ways you are a good candidate. In interviews be sure to explain how the experience you do have can translate to the job your applying for.  If you need more direct work experience, volunteering with a local group or organization can be a great way to gain valuable experience while doing a good deed.
  • Be definitive about your goals.  Don’t apply to every open position you see, as it could raise a red flag to potential employers –  this strategy suggests you don’t know what you want. Focus on the job or company best suited for you and your career goals.  This will allow you to really sink your teeth into that industry and show employers that it’s what you’re passionate about. It will also make you more knowledgeable in the long run.

Source: Progressive Insurance

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