A few career tips for every college graduate starting on their career path. Don’t worry about finding a dream job. Consider getting work experience in a great company, a target industry or with inspiring people. Tasting the real world of work is an important experience in itself.
A successful job search combines creativity, tenacity, process and maximizing all the great resources available to you. For the majority of people, the most important job search resource is your contact network. We’ll talk more about that later.
Below are few tips to help you get started as a job seeker
Sample resumes are everywhere. You can use the format recommended by your college or university. Other models include resumes of people you admire or who work in your target industry. Google docs and sites like Etsy all have creative and visually appealing resume templates.
If you have a dream job or target industry, identify a font and style that reflect this goal. Focus on your skills and accomplishments and make sure to emphasize both individual and team work. If you don’t have actual work experience, highlight school projects, community service and sports activities.
Once the resume is done, ask a relative, close friend, or mentor to review it. You can keep adjusting based on the information you receive during your search, but don’t let resume creation paralyze your search.
You might enjoy this article from
The Muse suggesting several interesting resume templates
Create a cover letter. For employers who care and do read it, the cover letter may be the most important document you send. Don’t let the problem of creating a cover letter stall an application later. Your basic outline can include 3 sections:
Create a consistent message to help you take first steps in your career path. Everything you say, do, and post on social media should reflect this message. Don’t assume that parents, family or close friends really understand what you are looking for or can articulate your skills.
Explain in 3 to 5 lines, what you studied, what you are looking for, and how your contacts can help.
Create a LinkedIn page or edit your current LinkedIn page. The LinkedIn summary section is a great forum for you to speak directly to prospective employers and recruiters.
This section is where your personality can shine. If you did a great project or learned something – talk about it. Articulate your goals and what you are looking for.
Review all of your personal social media platforms. Take down the photo of chugging beer at a party. Eliminate inflammatory political arguments. Make sure poor decisions you have made are erased.
Your goal is to deliver a consistent impression to companies that are hiring within your target industry or geographic area. Don’t distract from the chance to connect with a great job opportunity.
Check out this article about LinkedIn as a tool for finding a job
Your school’s Career Services department is an important resource.
Call and check in. Log in to the Career Services website. As a recent graduate you can access job postings and information. Many hiring managers favor their alma mater and will post entry level positions with their college career services.
Start creating a contact network database. Your goal – identify the top 20 people who will help you take the next steps toward a job or internship.
Reconnect with former employers, professors and anyone you have spoken to or worked with in the past. Update on the progress of your job search, make sure to clarify your request. If you want an introduction, make sure to say so. When you just want ideas or information, then say that.
Say thank you and follow up. Anyone who helps you should receive a thank you note and an on-going progress update. If you find an article or information that is relevant, send it to them to show that you are a thinker and that you appreciate their attention.
For another opinion reinforcing the need to say thank you, check out this article on cnn.com How to Write a Thank you Note
Set specific dates and times to work on the search. Don’t let family or peer pressure create additional stress. You can take control of your job search.
The job hunt can be fun. Try and enjoy exploring your options! This is your chance to seek opportunities, use our tips for fresh graduates, and learn about the world.
We look forward to working with you to make your job search successful and low stress! Visit our website for more information or please reach out by phone or email.
Debbie Matson is a Career Coach, Recruiter and Founder of CareerAmplify. She has an MBA from Cornell University and is a certified Executive Coach from Columbia University Teachers College. Her passion is empowering students moving from academics to full-time employment, and helping people at all stages of their careers find the next great job.
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