7 job hunting tips for recent graduates

Posted October 24, 2015 by
mini graduation cap on a job application form

Mini graduation cap on a job application form. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Have you recently graduated? Your first instinct was to have loads of fun, reconnect with your old friends, and visit a place you always wanted to see. That’s great; every graduate should get some time off to destress before diving into the real world. Sooner or later, you’ll have to get serious about job hunting. The sooner you put yourself out there, the more chances you’ll be able to grab.

The world is tough. You’ll face many challenges and you won’t find the perfect position as soon as you start applying for jobs. Your hopes for an interview might remain unanswered at first. Does that mean you should give up and wait for an opportunity to hit you? Of course not! It means you need to change your strategy.

The following 7 tips will lead you in the right direction. Remember, consistency is the key to success. When you do everything right, it will be only a matter of time before you start receiving good employment offers.

1. Build a detailed, informative LinkedIn profile.

In today’s job market, LinkedIn is where the magic happens. Recruiters browse this network on a daily basis to locate the perfect candidate for the jobs they have to offer. Your professional profile should feature every single skill you possess. Maybe you don’t have much experience to feature in the appropriate section, but you can brag about your extra-curricular activities, successful projects, internships, and part-time jobs. You’ll expand that list as you accumulate more experience from future jobs. For starters, you can offer what you have.

You already have a LinkedIn profile? Don’t leave it hanging. This service is all about networking, so use it to build valuable connections. Connect with as many people as you can. Even if your main strategy involves sending resumes in print, potential employers will appreciate seeing your strong presence on LinkedIn.

2. Create a CV and upload it to job sites.

LinkedIn is not the only place where recruiters hunt for candidates. There are other job sites/job boards and recruitment agencies you shouldn’t ignore. Make sure to build a top-notch CV or resume and upload it to different websites. This task will take a lot of time, since standardized CV forms don’t attract much attention. You need to construct a professional-looking document that still conveys your individuality.

Recruitment agencies will connect you with relevant jobs you might be interested in. Some agencies take a look at your CV and recommend specific improvements that would increase your chances of getting noticed.

Once you have the CV, don’t limit yourself to online exposure. Send it to different companies even if they don’t have open positions at the moment.

3. You have nothing to list in the CV/resume? Find an internship as soon as possible.

This is the perfect moment to become an intern. This option might turn into an opportunity for a real job, but you’ll benefit from it even if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. The results from a career development study in 2012 showed that 52% of the surveyed students hoped to have had at least three internships before graduating. This proves the importance of becoming an intern. If you didn’t accomplish that goal throughout your studies, you can still benefit from an internship position in a company with wide brand recognition. That experience will look good on your CV.

You shouldn’t accept unpaid internships, though. Interns Anonymous provides valuable insights from this market: only one of four internships lasts over 6 months, and most of the unpaid positions don’t lead to paid jobs. As an intern, you’ll have working hours and responsibilities to contribute towards the company’s functions and growth. If the business owner is not willing to pay for your work, then he probably has a goal to take advantage of the interns without offering a paid job once the contract ends.

4. Work on your online reputation.

Have you Googled yourself yet? Do that as soon as possible. Do you see something you don’t want a potential employer to see? Maybe some old Facebook photos that show how well you can party? Remove that content or make it private. Your presence on social media is an extremely important factor in your job hunt.

Facebook has a ‘view as’ button. See how your profile is presented to people who aren’t your friends, and don’t forget to check the timeline in different years. Remove the content you don’t like, but don’t make your profile extremely private. A potential employer would appreciate seeing hints and proof of your interests. If you listed alpinism as a hobby in your resume, then you should definitely leave proof of your activities on your public profile.

5. Don’t neglect small companies.

Your goal is to work for Google or another giant in the niche that interests you? Don’t be too pretentious. Your chances to work for a smaller company are much more realistic when you don’t have much experience. The entry-level jobs in humbler companies are less competitive, but you may still land a great position with decent income.

As you climb the career ladder, you’ll become a more attractive candidate, and even the biggest companies will be interested in hiring you.

6. Don’t limit yourself to one location.

Big cities are saturated and extremely competitive. It’s really hard to get a job in London, New York, or another huge city, so you might want to consider relocating to another place with higher employment rates. The best part is that the cost of living will be lower.

Don’t be afraid to make changes. You can even work abroad as an English teacher; that’s a great position offered all over Europe.

7. Join professional groups from your industry.

Your membership in an industry-specific group opens the doors to success. You’ll make connections with well-established professionals who are always willing to push talented people forward. Needless to say, you need to prove yourself as someone decent of a recommendation. If you manage to make good mentoring connections, it will be easy for you to meet the right people in the niche of your choice.

If you thought it would be easy to land a job right after graduation, you were wrong. Yes, that happens for some people, but most of us have to be really diligent, persistent, and patient in order to get a good job in this competitive market.

Stephanie Norman is a contributing blogger and professional writer with 4 years of experience from Sydney. She writes business, creative, and academic content covered human resources and recruitment, social media marketing, content marketing, and writing issues as a freelancer at Australian Writings, a company that offers assignment help for students. You can follow her at Facebook and Google+.

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