Recent graduate jobs are harder to find at the last minute: Job search tips from EY for seniors [interview]

Posted August 22, 2017 by


If you’re starting your last year of college, you probably have about 8-9 months until you’d like to be gainfully employed. You want a job that can do more than just pay your grown-up bills. You want an entry level job that will launch you into a great career.

We spoke with Jill Wilson, who is part of EY’s U.S. Campus Recruiting team and has tons of advice for finding recent graduate jobs. She has some concrete tips for seniors to take this coming year in bite sizes, so you can find a job that you love without having to panic. This is part one of our conversation, and we touch on why it’s a bad idea to wait until April to start your job search, and what are the big items that seniors should check off during the year to land a job they love. In part two we discuss the little things seniors can incorporate into their daily or weekly lives to further the job search.

Watch our conversation here, or read the takeaways in the blog below:



What happens when students wait until the spring to apply for jobs?

Wilson has been recruiting college graduates for about ten years. Every year she sees the same pattern and encourages students to avoid this.

I’ve had a number of college graduates email me in April, or even in the months after graduation asking about job opportunities and unfortunately my answer is usually always the same – we’ve already filled our open positions at that time.

It’s not impossible to find a job, says Wilson, if you wait until the end of the year. “However, the likelihood of that job being the perfect job or career for you is slim.”

Most larger employers like EY recruit for their full-time entry level positions during the fall semester.

A job search formula for your last year of college: take care of these “big buckets”

First, Wilson says it’s important to understand what’s important to you. So do a self-inventory of your interests, values, personality traits, and strengths. “Knowing yourself and what is important to you as an individual will help you determine the companies and types of career paths that may be right for you.” Having something in writing that you can refer to will essentially “give you a library of examples to pull from” when you are in an interview.”

Your self-inventory might produce a pretty broad picture as you get started in the job search. But as you move forward and discover more companies, job titles and become familiar with what draws you in, revisit your inventory and refine it.

TIP: You wouldn’t want to apply for a job with an imperfect resume, so take advantage of College Recruiter’s resume critique. One of our experts can email you with specific suggestions for improvement. Send us your draft!

Second, use your resources. And you have many resources on campus—take advantage of them! Career centers have people on the edge of their seats waiting to help you in your job search and for the recruiting process. “In addition to mock interviews and resume critiques, many career centers have a calendar of events so you know exactly what firms are coming to campus and when,” says Wilson.

Don’t underestimate how your fellow students can help you.

In addition to your career centers, you have an amazing resource in your peers.

Peers can help you network and job searchYour peers include friends, classmates, alumni and members of student organizations. “Once you have a short list of your ideal companies,” says Wilson, “seek out your peers who already have an internship or job lined up at those companies. Having successfully gone through the recruiting process, they can give you direct insight into what their employer is looking for in an ideal candidate.” In addition, employers often want employees and candidates to give them referrals, and they take those referrals more seriously than any given applicant who comes through their system. If your peer is willing to put in a good word for you, that could be a big help.

Third, grow your network. But don’t go overboard. “Focus on quality over quantity,” advises Wilson. You could go out and attend 100 different events and get nowhere in your job search, because you’re too broad—you’re not focusing on making a real connection.

Related: how to build your personal brand while you network 

Recruiting 101 will tell you that networking is vital to landing your perfect job. But there is a right and wrong way to network, and the wrong way will cause poor first impressions and inefficient use of your time. Instead, focus your strategy on the short list of companies ideal to you and commit 100% of your attention when engaging with a professional from one of your ideal employers.

Want to really make an impression? Take the time to learn about the person who you plan to meet, and try to find common ground. “Connecting on a personal level”, and especially showing that you’ve done your homework, will pay off because that recruiter will be more likely to remember you. Always follow-up with an email or phone call to keep the conversation going.

Our friend and expert career counselor Joanne Meehl weighed in on this topic too. She advises seniors to “make sure your ‘marketing tools’ are ready.” Before you go to career fairs, apply for jobs, or network in other ways, update your resume, LinkedIn profile, and practice what you say about yourself when you introduce yourself (a “60-second commercial”, if you will). “These are not gimmicks or tricks, these are real tools that should be reflecting the real you,” says Meehl.​

Networking happens online too. It’s important to meet people face to face, but you can and should reach out to people before and after you meet them, through LinkedIn or other social media.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers, Industry News and Information | Tagged