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Posted July 27, 2016 by

10 tips for college graduates seeking job search success

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College seniors and recent college graduates often enter the job market eager and excited about the possibilities of landing that first job. But many quickly find out job search success isn’t immediate and requires a lot of hard work.

But successful job seekers also quickly realize there are resources that can help: mentors, college career services departments, and professional contacts are willing to assist recent college graduates in their quest for job search success.

Below, we organized feedback from a variety of career services professionals and recruiting experts, all who offer job search and career advice for college seniors, recent college grads, and entry-level job seekers striving to achieve job search success. We’d like to offer our own secret: register as a job seeker with College Recruiter. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

1. Write down the best qualities of one job you would do for free

“Think about the one job you would do even if you weren’t being paid for doing it – the job you would do right now simply for the joy it brings you. Write it down. Then write down the qualities of this job. As you interview, be sure to ask questions that address the presence of these qualities. At the offer stage, be sure to assess the offers in terms of the presence or absence of these qualities.”

Steve Levy, Advisor at Day 100

2. Find a mentor

“The best tip that I could give college seniors is to be willing to ask questions. It can be intimidating to have peers with jobs already lined up and seemingly everything figured out. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know about the job search. Ask for help with the process. Find a mentor or several mentors, and use their time wisely. Instead of asking for a simple resume review, bring your resume and 5 job descriptions and ask, “how could I strengthen my application for each of these roles?” or “If you were interviewing for these positions, how would you evaluate candidates?” Once you start asking deep-dive questions about resumes, jobs, and interviews, you will become an active, engaged candidate.”

Mike Caldwell, Director, Business Careers & Employer Development and College of William & Mary

3. Connect with your cover letter

“When writing your cover letter, make sure you’re talking about how well you fit with both the job description AND the company. There will likely be several candidates who have a strong background for the position. Once that has been established, the company will look at who will fit best into the company and its established culture. This is your opportunity to establish that connection early.”

Kelsey Lavigne, Career Services Specialist, University of Arkansas College of Engineering

4. Resume tip: Show don’t tell

“Show me; don’t tell me. I often say that evidence is worth more than a thousand words. When hiring, I am looking for someone who truly ‘walks the talk’—and a great way for candidates to demonstrate or prove their ability, passion, skills, and knowledge is by using a portfolio—which goes well beyond a static resume.”

Heather Hiles, is the CEO and founder of Pathbrite

5. Focus on people first

“When you get into your job — no matter what you’re doing or how much you like it — focus on people first. Get to know your coworkers and get to care about your coworkers. You have no idea what turn your career will take, and in five years this job may be a small blip on your resume. But what makes the job worth the time are the people you meet and the relationships you form.”

Sarah Greesonbach, Principal at B2B Content Studio, @AwYeahSarah

6. Be specific in your first job search

“Be open to other career path opportunities which may come your way, but in your initial search be specific. A narrow focus will keep you from wasting your time (and that of employers, recruiters, and hiring managers) by applying and interviewing for positions which really aren’t a good fit or what you want to be doing. Also, it’s okay to start at the beginning, though the pay and responsibility may be less than what you were hoping. Go in with the understanding and determination that as long as you do more than what you are paid to do, you will eventually end up being paid more for what you do, if not by your present employer, then its competitor.”

David Flake, Human Resources Director at State of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

7. Stay organized

“Start early and stay organized. Keep a log of applications you’ve completed, date, which copy of your resume you sent, and any contact information you have. Use that to follow up on jobs!”

Rebecca Warren, Career & Disability Services Coordinator, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

8. Utilize your college career services department

“Make use of the career services office at your college or university. The staff can direct you when it comes to resumes, career fairs, job opportunities, and the appropriate ways to follow up with potential employers.”

Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator, New England Center for Children

9. Maintain a positive online image

“Make sure you are reflecting your professional self. Search for your name online. See what comes back in the results. Remember you’re selling yourself to potential employers, and you should present your best self. Keep social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) free from questionable posts and images.”

Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

10. Always learn to grow as a professional

“Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the job market. You probably won’t land your dream job the first time around. However, if you understand that this process is a continuation of your learning and growth as both a professional and person you will be just fine.”

Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC.

The job search is tough. Seek out help and assistance. Utilize these resources and tips to help succeed in your job search now and throughout your career.

For more job search success stories and tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Posted January 28, 2014 by

How College Grads Can Secure Their First Entry Level Jobs

With so much competition in the job market, college graduates need all of the help they can to secure their first entry level jobs.  The following post provides an infographic with tips to help grads find employment, and more.

The unemployment rate for college grads is 7.9%, which means many young adults are still having difficulty finding a job. That fact is scary, indeed. However, you have a lot of say in whether you are part of that statistic. With some networking knowledge, adjustments to your online presence and developing an action plan rather than just randomly applying, you

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Posted January 14, 2014 by

Earned a Degree, but Haven’t Landed an Entry Level Job? What Could Make the Difference

So, you’ve earned your college degree and now expect to easily find an entry level job.  Well, even with a degree, you still might struggle finding a job.  However, the following post has some advice on what might make the difference in your job search.

What do you do when you realize the degree you spent all those years completing… is completely useless? When the only job you can land after graduation is… collections? If you’re Ian Greenleigh – author of the must-read book “The Social Media Side Door” – you use your most marketable skill (social

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Posted August 05, 2013 by

Tips to Secure an Entry Level Job in Social Media

Do you want to improve your chances of landing an entry level job in social media?  If so, think about trying the tips offered in the following post.

If you’re a member of the Class of 2013 or looking to transition your career into the digital realm, it’s in your best interests to understand the challenges of the entry-level job search. Today, employers require more experience…

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Posted March 20, 2012 by

3 Entry-Level Job Seeking Mistakes to Avoid

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast

Are you an entry-level job seeker looking to get out there and find your first position? Making your first attempt marks the beginning of quite an adventure as you look to meet your goal of entering the workforce. As a newbie, it is easy to make a few mistakes here and there that could slow your ability to find work. So to get a successful start, here are some entry-level mistakes to avoid: (more…)

Posted June 04, 2008 by

How Much Education Do You Need?

Pink Floyd chanted the anthem for at least two generations of teens when he sang the lyrics, “We don’t need no education…” Little did his listeners realize that the seeming freedom from tyrannical instructors and educational systems that they were chanting about wasn’t really the nirvana that they were imagining. Luckily, most of these youth weren’t quite as revolutionary as they imagined themselves to be and went on attending class and even college. Had they truly turned their backs on their education, they might have found a world far more frightening than Pink Floyd’s depiction of the Machine or learned just what it was like to be a brick in the wall.
The reasoning behind this statement are sound. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has released a report that details the projection of availability for entry level jobs through the year 2014 and the educational requirements that will be required to obtain entry level jobs within these industries. Known as the Occupational projections and Training Data, or Bulletin 2602, this compilation of research was released in February of 2006. Dividing jobs into categories based on the level of education required, the projections indicate that the majority of available entry level jobs through the year 2014 will require at least some college education and those possessing degrees will have even greater chances of successfully finding entry level employment in their desired field of work.
What does this mean to the college student today? Basically, don’t lose hope. Even though attending classes and balancing the student lifestyle and budget can be difficult, the entry level employment opportunities of the future will require you to demonstrate the skills you are learning today.

Posted June 02, 2008 by

Dealing With Problem Coworkers

For the college student entering the workforce with their first entry level job, some advice is indispensable. There are several opportunities for ones career to go astray during the time when you are learning work ethics, office politics and the rules of the work force. Learning how to deal with problem coworkers can be a very important lesson and knowing the techniques before starting your first entry level job is a great way to insure that your career stays on track.
Problem coworker number one is the dishonest employee. This is the fellow that tells you how to shortcut everything in the office. He will tell you that arriving late is fine if you have your friend clock you in on time, an extra five minutes in the break room is no problem and taking a few office supplies home is okay because no one will miss them. The dishonest employee can cost you your job and your reputation. Solution: Don’t get involved with this guy or his methods. Let him know that you are honest and value your reputation with your employer. If you can prove that he is doing something dishonest, it is also your duty to report this to your supervisor so make sure this problem coworker knows where you stand.
Problem coworker number two is the lazy employee. Working in your first entry level job, you value the opinions and experience of those who have been working in the field for a while but it is easy to be snared by this fellows game. He is the guy who asks “hey, can you help me out?” over and over again. What you are seeing as a favor at first, quickly becomes a doubled workload for you. Solution: Don’t confuse respect with being a private servant for this fellow. An occasional favor to help a coworker is one thing but if the employee can’t pull their own weight on a daily basis, how do you expect to do his job and yours? Politely decline the request and let them know you have your own workload to handle.
By knowing how to recognize these two problem employees, you can save yourself a lot of stress on your entry level job and keep your career on the right track.

Posted May 13, 2008 by

Writing Effective Cover Letters

For the college graduate seeking entry level employment opportunities, knowing how to write an effective cover letter is a very valuable skill. Your resume introduces you to the business world but your cover letter is what personalizes it and introduces you to the company you propose to work for.
Cover letters should be kept short and to the point. The letter should introduce you and explain why you are interested in the entry level positions the company may have available as well as what you feel you can bring to the company. Your resume will substantiate your claims but the cover letter puts them on the table.
Because a cover letter is so vital to how your resume will be received, there are a few points to which you should pay extra attention. First, make sure the cover letter is addressed to the proper person. If you want a job in the accounting department, address the cover letter directly to the person in charge of that department including proper titles. This not only shows respect. It also indicates that you have took the time to research the information and displays your character as being motivated and thinking.
Secondly, pay attention to grammar and spelling in your cover letter because these two things speak volumes about you and can be determining factors in whether you receive an entry level job offer or get laughed at around the water cooler at Christmas. Even professional writers make mistakes so use the spell check function on your word processing program and have a friend read the finished product over for grammatical errors.
Finally, be certain to use a good quality paper and a clear font to make your cover letter more noticeable and easy to read. By following these suggestions, you can write effective cover letters that will help you to obtain an entry level job.

Posted May 13, 2008 by

Using Team Work To Find A Job

Traditionally, people have considered the search for entry level jobs to be a solitary expedition. A single college graduate going out into the world to make their fortunes has been the long held perception of the college educated job seeker. But thanks to the power of networking, you no longer need to be the lone wolf on the hunt for an entry level job.
More and more, college students and recent graduates are realizing the value of collective experiences when seeking entry level jobs. If you and a few friends are also seeking to find entry level jobs, why not take the time to share the experience? By making the search for entry level employment a group experience, you can cover a greater amount of territory in your search, share each others disappointments and cheer each others successes. Additionally, being part of the group of steadfast entry level job seekers may help you to further your career as you and your friends advance through the business world and share your network of friends and contacts. You never know when your friend who is looking for an entry level job in the computer programming department is doing so because his parents are successful business owners in the marketing field and he doesn’t want to go into the family business but he would be more than happy to see the job in his parents company offered to you.
Entry level job searches are no longer the domain of the individual job seeker. The new entry level job hunt is a team sport.

Posted May 13, 2008 by

Using A Bad Experience To Make Your Resume Shine

Almost every person who has ever been employed in an entry level job can relate a bad experience that happened to them at some point in their careers and you likely have had similar experiences. Maybe you hired into a firm to fill an entry level network administrator position and found that the technology dated back to the stone age and there was no budget for upgrades. Perhaps you were an entry level programmer on a project that had so many bugs you considered hiring an exterminator. We all have had our share of entry level job misfortunes but did you ever consider that these dark clouds could have silver linings for your future career?
Believe it or not, a bad experience on an entry level job can be an advantage on your resume if you play your cards right. How so? If you found a resolution to the situation, it illustrates your abilities in problem solving and conflict management, two things that are very desirable in new entry level employees. Being able to say “Yes, the experience was difficult but I found this solution” is a unique way to put your resume into a new light.
Don’t be afraid to brag a little. Anyone can do a job well when everything is working perfectly but only the elite can deal with a crisis situation and trun it around towards their favor. Employers offering entry level jobs will appreciate this and your problem solving skills may land you a new job.
A word of caution, however, is in order. When adding less than stellar experiences to your resume, don’t include things that are interpersonal, give away trade secrets of your former employer or aren’t job related. No one wants to know about the coworker who talked on the phone too loudly, it sounds whiney and petty. Giving away a trade secret could not only get you sued by your former employer, it displays a lack of loyalty to your new prospect and things that aren’t job related, probably aren’t going to mean much to your new prospects opinions anyway.
All in all, adding your bad experiences to your resume helps to put you in a good light with new entry level job prospects,