Career Advice for Job Seekers

Infographic: Tips from EY campus recruiter to find jobs for new graduates

Anna Peters AvatarAnna Peters
August 29, 2017


If you are beginning your last year of college, don’t put off the job search. Looking for a job can easily start to feel like a full-time job itself. Luckily, there are things you can do that fold into your daily or weekly lives that will help you land a job by the time you graduate.

We spoke with Jill Wilson, who is part of EY’s U.S. Campus Recruiting team. 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 two of our conversation. Last week we discussed 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.

Networking for college students to find a job

Watch our discussion with Jill Wilson here, or read the takeaways in the blog post below


Little things to incorporate into your daily life to advance your job search

First, says Wilson, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and keep it up to date. When you make a connection in person, request to connect with them on LinkedIn. In today’s environment, online networking happens in sync with in-person networking. You shouldn’t do one without the other.

Second, start expanding your activities. “Put yourself out there,” advises Wilson. “Attend a discussion by yourself, join a new club or organization, collaborate with different peers on group projects. These experiences will teach you more about yourself, while also opening doors that may not have previously existed for you.” You might learn about different career paths or different companies that you’ve never heard about.

You don’t have to network with people who have wildly different interests than yours, but try not to limit yourself too much, says Wilson, and make sure to challenge your assumptions about different companies or career paths. Wilson recounts her own experience: “When I was looking for a job, I wrote off a lot of companies because I thought they were too big, or they wouldn’t be able to personalize my development. And a friend dragged me to an event to learn about the ‘big four’.”  That is when Wilson learned more about EY, and she has been there every since.

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Third, you might forget to do this one thing if you’re nervous about networking or meeting new people. Smile! “By nature,” Wilson says, “we’re are drawn to happy, positive people. Smiling will make you more approachable, whether that’s in the classroom, walking around campus or at a networking event specifically.” Especially as you expand your activities, when you’re in different experiences, it is important to remember that these first impressions can make or break a networking connection.

Don’t let these people escape from your network this year

Professors can help you network and make job recommendationsFirst and foremost, connect with faculty in your field of study. Not only do they understand some of your skill sets, and can help you do a self-inventory of your skills and interests, but Wilson adds that “many professors and instructors have professional backgrounds that align with your career interests. Or they have former students in a similar role you aspire to be in. Either way, your professors often have a great deal of contacts and may be able to put in a good word on your behalf, informally or through a formal letter of recommendation.”

Maintain a positive and constant relationship with your faculty because when the time comes, “they can put in a good word for you either informally or by writing a letter of recommendation,” says Wilson.

Second, your career center has a lot of excellent resources, so keep the career counselors within reach. “They will help you develop your ‘pitch’, provide advice on what jobs align with your skills and interests, review your resume and sharpen your interviewing skills,” says Wilson.

Not utilizing your career center would be flying blind in your job search. “I would definitely not graduate without having a sit-down conversation with someone at the career center.”

Related: expert recruiters give advice on the best elevator pitch and more networking tips

Finally, don’t underestimate the connection of alumni. “There’s a huge benefit of sitting down with alumni,” says Wilson, “or people you already know at the organization you’re joining. Not only can they give you insight into what to expect when you start full-time, but can also help you start building your network inside the company.”

Our friend and expert career counselor Joanne Meehl has some great advice on this topic too. She agrees that connecting with alumni is important. One person who can help start that ball moving is the head of your College Advancement or Alumni Relations office. They have great connections to employers and alumni, and they want nothing more than to help eager job seekers.

Network at school and at home to find a jobThe president of your college or university can offer an amazing network too, says Meehl, and you would likely impress him or her if you asked for a quick meeting. Finally, she advises looking homeward. “Your parents and the parents of your friends from college and back home” can be helpful. “In all these cases,” says Meehl, “you want to tell them what YOU love to do, what you want to do, and what you are good at. Then stay in touch with them all so they don’t forget you!”

That last point is important. One email or cup of coffee isn’t enough to assume that your network will find you a job. You must follow up with a thank-you, as well as occasional check-ins to give them any updates about yourself or ask about their own work and lives.

Don’t panic: jobs for new graduates don’t require knowing your exact career path 

Wilson’s final recommendation for college seniors is:

When you’re in the job market, don’t stress about finding the perfect job that’s going to map out the rest of your career. You may have your life planned out and you may not, but life throws a lot of curveballs along the way.

She has seen thousands of entry level employees start new jobs. “In any given year, EY hires roughly 5,000 college graduates in the US. When they join us, it runs the gamut. Some know exactly what they want to do and have their career path outlined and laid out, while others have no clue.” If you’ve chosen a good employer, they will see it as their job to provide an environment where you will grow and learn, “so that regardless of whether this is your dream job, you are set up for future success.”

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